Please keep your dogs leashed for both their own safety and your safety.

Dan Sweeney, a 29 year old resident of West Hartford, Connecticut was walking his dogs just before 7 a.m. on Monday, July 16 in the West Hartford Water Treatment Facility and reservoir/recreation area, when his unleashed schnauzer provoked a nearby bear.

When his 6 year old Schnauzer was attacked by the black bear, Sweeney took out his pistol and fired six shots at the bear to defend his dog; he then grabbed his injured dog and brought it to VCA  Emergency Animal Hospital in Avon. The dog was conscious when it was brought to the hospital, where it was placed on IV and stabilized.

The entrances to the reservoirs was closed for several hours as police and wildlife officers searched for the bear, and they were concerned about a possibly wounded bear near public walking/biking trails. They did find some blood, but they believe it belongs to the dog, and that the bear was not injured. The bear was not found and the gate was reopened to the public on Monday afternoon.

Police are still investigating and there is no word yet on if the dog walker would face charges for firing off his gun, since guns are not permitted on the premises.

Sweeney’s dog is expected to make a full recovery.

Story by Lauren McGregor Downs