Residents on high alert amid uptick in black bear sightings in Franklin

FRANKLIN, Mass. — Franklin residents are on high alert after a number of bear sightings were reported in the town in recent days.

The Franklin Police Department said it responded to multiple bear sightings, including a call for a bear cub in the area of Washington Street near Shiela Lane, over the weekend.

In a Facebook post, the department wrote, “We’ve received multiple reports of a bear in the area of 850 Washington Street. Contrary to popular belief bears are allowed to be in the woods...We just cleared a call of a cub walking on Washington by Street Shiela Lane.”

Bob Vozzella, who works in Franklin, shared photos with Boston 25 on Monday that showed a black bear standing on its hind legs, reaching up into a tree outside 157 Grove Street. The animal was also seen walking about the parking lot.

People at the nearby Mass Strength Olympic Weightlifting gym at 72 Grove Street also shared videos of a similar-looking bear roaming around outside.

In response to the uptick in reported sightings, the Jefferson Elementary School limited recess Monday and asked parents to reconsider allowing their children to walk to and from school.

“This should go without saying but please do not go near a bear if you see it,” Franklin police warned.

Police also urged residents to keep a close eye on their pets and bird feeders.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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