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A black bear that authorities said was shot by a Springettsbury Township man suffered for six days before being euthanized by a police officer who found it lying alongside a road, officials said.

"An officer found him while on patrol," said Springettsbury Township Police Sgt. Brian Wilbur. "He was barely alive. He was technically breathing, but near death. He was obviously suffering."

The patrol officer shot the bear to put it out of its misery, according to the sergeant, who said it's not uncommon for officers to euthanize deer and smaller wildlife struck on the road and badly wounded.

That was the morning of Sept. 20, according to police, who found the bear in the 1900 block of Williams Road, in the grass off the roadway.

But the bear was actually shot six days earlier — at about 10 p.m. Sept. 14, according to Travis Lau, communications director for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

"Presumably, no one but the defendant knew it had been shot until (the officer found it)," Lau told The York Dispatch.

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79-year-old cited: A state game warden has cited a 79-year-old Springettsbury Township man for allegedly shooting the bear on his property.

Milton Donald Miller, who authorities said goes by M. Donald Miller, is cited with the first-degree summary offense of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife, according to court records.

If found guilty, Miller could face up to three months in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $1,500, according to his citation, filed by game commission Warden Justin Ritter.

Bear attacks in Pennsylvania are rare, according to the game commission.

For more information about living with black bears, visit the state game commission's website.

Miller, of the 1900 block of Williams Road, confessed he shot the bear because it was at his bird feeder, according to Lau.

Reached by phone for comment on Friday, Oct. 4, Miller told The York Dispatch, "It's none of your business and I have nothing to tell you."

Wilbur said the adult bear was on the small side and that the officer initially assumed it had been struck by a car.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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