DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Officials in Durango are urging residents to keep their pets safe from hungry bears preparing for winter after a 14-year-old pet miniature horse was attacked and killed.

The pet horse was just 32 inches tall and weighed less than 200 pounds. It was in an enclosed pasture just outside Durango when it was attacked last Saturday, The Durango Herald reported Friday.

Wildlife officers set a trap for the bear but eventually removed it so as not to attract other predators. The pet’s owner, who didn’t want to be identified, removed a second miniature horse from the pasture, said Joe Lewandowski, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman.

Bears preparing for winter are believed to have killed two sheep and a goat in the area in recent weeks, Lewandowski said.

“This is the time of year when bears begin feeding around the clock in preparation for hibernation,” he said. “Natural food – berries and forbs – have been plentiful and acorns are coming on. But bears are opportunistic, so they wouldn’t pass up a small animal like the miniature horse.”

Bears need about 20,000 calories a day to prepare for hibernation, Lewandowski said. He urged residents to protect their pets and livestock, including those who keep llamas, alpacas, goats and other pets outside.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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