Each day, dozens of people walk past the taxidermied bear sitting in front of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office. Visitors often stop to take its picture. School children frequently pet the animal.
For Capitol regulars, the bear sometimes just blends into the east wing's marble walls.
But last Tuesday, a receptionist noticed something that gave her pause.
"Somebody, we don't know who, cut part of its paw off," said Attorney General spokeswoman Beth Ryan.
The two middle toes on its left front paw are gone, and the taxidermy mold is showing from underneath.
"It looks like they used a pocket knife or something," Ryan said. "It's crazy."
"I don't see the point in defacing something that represents the state animal."
She said the vandalism probably happened either Sunday or Monday, but no one noticed the damage until Tuesday evening. Morrisey's office promptly filed a report with Capitol police.
The Daily Mail was unable to obtain a copy of the police report, as officers are still investigating the claim. The officer conducting the investigation was not in the office Friday and calls to Kevin Foreman, deputy director of the state Division of Protective Services, were not immediately returned.
Finding out who defaced the poor bear might be difficult, however. Ryan said there are no security cameras monitoring the hallway outside the Attorney General's office, just the entryways.
But if the culprit is ever caught, they could face serious charges.
State law forbids anyone from having possession of a bear or parts of a bear unless the animal was killed in hunting season and properly registered with the Division of Natural Resources.
According to state law "bear parts" include, but are not limited to, the animal's pelt, gallbladder, skull and claws.
"Basically, you'd have to have a checking tag or a special tag to possess it," DNR training officer Lt. Tim Coleman said.