RCMP in Moncton killed a bear wandering in the city's east end on Thursday, firing two shots into the animal after it was spotted close to a middle school.

A wildlife official said tranquilizing the bear wasn't an option.

Jackie Boutilier, who lives on Vista Drive, saw the bear after she finished mowing her lawn at about 8:45 a.m.

"When I put the tractor away and was walking up my driveway across the street I saw this black thing and I thought, well, that's some butt-ugly dog," said Boutilier. "And I looked and I thought, that's not a dog, that's a bear.

"And just then it turned around and headed to the woods. So I called 911 and they sent somebody out. I guess they are aware that it was here."

Jackie Boutilier

Jackie Boutilier saw the bear in her neighbourhood as she finished mowing the lawn. (Radio-Canada )

Boutilier said she was surprised to see a bear in the area.

"This is pretty residential to be having a bear wandering around," she said. 

"We have had moose and we've had deer and my husband said, 'When you take the dog out at night be diligent because we could have a bear.' And I said. 'Oh, there would never be a bear this handy to these houses.' Well, he was right."  

Marie Gervais, who also lives on Vista Drive, said she was with her daughter and granddaughter when she noticed a police officer walking around looking for something.

"The policeman kept on coming this way, going around each house, and when he got to this one he kept on going right." Gervais said.

"My daughter was taking her little girl to the daycare, so then I saw the bear and then my daughter started screaming "a bear, a bear" and I said "no, no no, you don't want to scare the little one.'

Marie Gervais

Marie Gervais witnessed the bear being shot on Vista Drive in Moncton. (Radio-Canada )

"The policeman went up to the house, saw the bear, came back to his car and he took his gun. And he came back, and he shot him twice, and the bear was very close to him and didn't leave there. He stayed in front of the guy."

Gervais said she understands why the bear was shot.

"I felt strange because we never see these things around here, so it was sad."

Police say safety was main factor

Staff Sgt. Mario Fortin said the bear was in a heavily populated area, close to an arena and a middle school.

And it was trying to go from one backyard to another.

Bear killed in Moncton0:29

"At one point the bear tried to climb a fence and fell back, and when the bear fell down that's when the officer decided to basically use the weapon and shoot the bear because if not we were going to get into a chase the bear from one backyard to another to another with no exit in sight." Fortin said.

Fortin confirmed the bear was shot twice.

"The first shot was behind the shoulder and the second one was just to basically make sure the bear's dead."

Busy time of year for bears

Kevin Craig, a wildlife biologist with the Energy and Resource Development Department, said this is a very active time of year for bears, because they're trying to put on a lot of weight for hibernation.

Bear removed

The dead black bear is removed from an east end Moncton neighbourhood Thursday morning. (Anais Brasier, Radio-Canada)

Craig said staff are trained to immobilize or tranquilize a bear, but only in areas where the animal can be controlled.

"Unlike television programs, it doesn't take instantaneous effect," he said. "It can be anywhere from five to 15 minutes of that animal being mobile, so you need a contained situation where that can't occur, because you can't lose that animal. You can't have it being immobilized or partly immobilized and being in traffic around people."

In this case, immobilization wasn't an option, and decisions have to be based on public safety.

Recent sightings

This is the third bear sighting in the greater Moncton area in the last couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, a bear was spotted in the Point Park area of Riverview.

A natural resources officer investigated but the bear went back in to the woods.

There were also recent black bear sightings in Irishtown Nature Park.

With files from Michele Brideau