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POLLOCK PINES, Calif. - An El Dorado County homeowner believes a mother black bear and her cub tore into his chicken coop early Sunday morning and killed 10 chickens.

Matt Montgomery had fortified the enclosure with heavy duty chain link fencing following earlier attacks by raccoons and a mountain lion, but on Sunday a sheet of plywood was pried off the 4X4 frame.

Montgomery said different-sized claw marks led him to the conclusion it was the mother and cub that have been seen recently in his neighborhood on Quick Silver Road.

"They normally just go after the garbage cans at the end of the street," he said. "Nothing like this has happened before."

Montgomery said the bears also climbed the stairs to his back deck and tried to get at younger chickens in a brooding coop. The coop was dragged across the deck, but the bears were apparently unable to reach the chickens inside.

Montgomery has heard reports of so-called "drought bears" becoming increasingly aggressive in their desperate search for food. That has him worried about his wife and three children.

"We have five sliding-glass doors. It's been on the deck already. I'm afraid it's going to come inside the house," he said.

Montgomery said he would try to scare the bears with an air horn if they returned but would seek a depredation permit (which allows the permittee or designee to kill the offending bear) from the Department of Fish and Wildlife if the noise doesn't work.

"This bear is not afraid of anything and it is definitely a hazard to people," he said.

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