(PA) Game officials rule shooting of bear by LEO was justified


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Steve in PA
August 25, 2004, 01:14 PM
Officer Shoots Bear (http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=2211842)

"Police in Lackawanna County are investigating a Monday afternoon incident in which an officer shot and killed a bear. The animal was spotted roaming a neighborhood in Jermyn, near an apartment complex on Henry Drive.

The PA Game Commission was called in to trap the bear but a Jermyn police officer got there first. He decided the situation was too dangerous to wait for game officials, so he shot and killed the bear.

Jermyn Police are now investigating that officer's actions."






Here I was, bragging about how I lived in an area where people have more common sense than to shoot a bear, just because its in an area close to human activitey.

The PGC (PA Game Commission) have ruled in that a LEO did nothing wrong for shooting a bear that was digging through garbage near a housing development.

I have said the shooting of the bear (IMHO) was not justified, and I have gone on record by saying the shooting of this bear in PA was also unjustified. I've included an email that I sent to a local TV station (which runs and outdoor show) and a local newspaper.

I guess I gave my area too much credit for having common sense, as they have none.

Below is the email:

I found the justification of the police officer and the Pennsylvania Game Commission over the shooting of the bear to be so irrational, it left me speechless. I guess anyone who sees a bear anywhere can just start shooting, since with their logic (police and PGC) it would be justified.

Perhaps they should read this article from Kentucky, where a man is being charged for shooting a bear, that was on his property. Funny, how in similar incidents, one is found liable for shooting a bear, and another is not. The bear in PA was of no danger to anyone, and it can be argued by some, that the shooting of the bear in Kentucky was justified. However, my opinion is that neither bear had to be shot, since according to the witnesses, the bear was just digging through garbage, and not threatening anyone one or showing an aggressive behavior.

The shooting of the bear in Kentucky has been hotly debated on several internet bulletin boards and I spent the past several days stating how wrong it was to shoot the bear and how lucky I am to live in an area where people have enough common sense to enjoy the rare sight of a black bear without having to resort to killing it just because it shows up in a neighborhood. Boy was I wrong.

Steve xxxxxxx
xx xxxxxxx xx
xxxxxxxxxxxx, PA 18705





This is a link to the debate on an internet forum known as TheHighRoad.Org. I would be Steve in PA www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=97714


This is the link to the KY story www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/07/22/loc_kybear22.html and a copy of it;

Thursday, July 22, 2004
Man who shot bear refuses plea bargain


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Roger Alford
The Associated Press


An eastern Kentucky man charged with illegally killing a bear in his back yard has refused to plead guilty in order to avoid the possibility of jail time, opting instead to have his case heard in front of a jury.

Terry Brock, 36, of Mayking, said the bear was a renegade and that he killed it to protect his family.

The Letcher County man faces from 30 days to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted. He said the county prosecutor offered a plea bargain that would have required no jail time but he would have had to pay a $250 penalty, give up his hunting privileges and the heirloom 30-30 caliber rifle he used to shoot the bear.

"I didn't want to do that," Brock said. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong."

District Judge Jim Wood set Brock's trial for Sept. 20.

Brock, who has three children, said he walked out his door on June 2 to see what had his dogs and horse so disturbed and came face to face with the bear. He said he jumped back inside, asked his wife to call the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife for help, and began banging on the wall of his mobile home, hoping the noise would frighten the wild animal away.

When that didn't work, Brock said he grabbed an heirloom rifle and fired.

"It seems like he had a right to protect his family, his dogs, his horse, from this bear," said defense attorney Jamie Hatton. "It's not like he was poaching."

Letcher County Attorney Harold Bolling couldn't be reached to comment Wednesday. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, which filed the charge against Brock, doesn't want the case dropped.

In a region where complaints about the protected animals are on the increase, a trial could test how jurors in eastern Kentucky perceive the shooting of black bears that wander into residential areas.

For the first time in more than a century, Kentucky has a self-sustaining black bear population.

Brock, who has pleaded not guilty to illegally killing the bear, said he couldn't believe he was accused of a crime. He said the bear swatted at his dogs and had his horse so spooked that he feared it might break a leg trying to get out of its stall.

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mete
August 25, 2004, 01:46 PM
Steve, I think the difference is that he was an LEO. If a bear is not damaging property or threatening people they have no right to shoot him. I've met PA and NY bears face to face and I never felt the need to shoot them. .. Reactions to bears seem to vary from outright hysteria and fear and the urge to hug ,pet, and feed it !!!

TallPine
August 25, 2004, 02:17 PM
Well, Steve, at least you are consistent on the two incidents. I have to admire you for that.

Still, can you not see how the difference in the way these two shootings were handled makes some of us private citizens feel just a little bit resentful? Granted, the incidents were in two different states, so that might have made some of the difference.

IF it had been a bear in my yard, I would have probably fired a warning shot into the ground near the bear to try to scare it off first.

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