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Video: Tenn. first responders rescue dog trapped for days with bear inside cave

Firefighters in Sevier County had set up trail cameras to know when the bear left the cave


Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

By Simone Jasper
The Charlotte Observer

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — A dog trapped in a Tennessee cave for days needed to be rescued — but a 200-pound bear made it complicated, officials said.

Charlie the dog was stuck about 40 feet down “an (extremely) narrow cave shaft.” But as crews used ropes to descend into the cave, one firefighter saw an unexpected creature below her feet, according to the Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

“I could see two little bear feet and a quite large claw grasping onto the wall beside him,” firefighter Tori Downing told WVLT.

In addition to seeing the bear, first responders discovered that the dog was deeper in the cave. That’s when they hatched a plan to save him, firefighters wrote Oct. 11 in a Facebook post.

“The team exited the cave and trail cameras were set up to monitor the cave exit to signal when the bear left,” crews wrote.

When firefighters learned that the bear was gone, crews used ropes to get into the cave and a harness to pull Charlie to safety, photos and video show. Then it was time for the dog to reunite with his owner after three days apart.

“He was dehydrated and hungry, but in otherwise good condition,” officials said.

The multi-agency rescue was reported on English Mountain in the Sevierville area. Sevierville is a gateway to the popular trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which extends into North Carolina.

Black bears are found in that region of Tennessee as well as along the state’s border with Kentucky. While bears typically avoid humans, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency urges people to avoid feeding the animals to help reduce the chance of encounters.

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