CLEAR SPRING, Md. (AP) — A bear has been released back into the wild by wildlife authorities who believe the animal was responsible for killing two ponies in western Maryland.

News outlets report that the horses were killed either July 8 or July 9 in Clear Spring.

Wildlife officials set a trap, and on Tuesday caught the bear believed responsible for the attack.

Officials believe the attack was a freak occurrence prompted when the bear came upon the ponies in an isolated location.

The 200-pound black bear was subjected to "aversive conditioning before it was released. More specifically, it was pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets to prevent it from returning to the area.