American Elephants

Bears Have Rights. Man Faces Charges. by The Elephant's Child


Richard Ahlstrand of Auburn, Massachusetts went out in his back yard to fill up the bird feeders, when a bear about seven feet tall and weighing 300–400 lbs. started chasing him. Mr. Ahlstrand turned around and aimed in the general direction of the bear and fired. He had a shotgun with him because he had heard a noise and thought he’d seen a bear the day before.

Now he faces criminal charges for encountering a bear in his back yard and shooting it to avoid being mauled or eaten. Can’t do that. The bear has rights.

He is charged with “illegally killing a bear, Illegally baiting a bear, illegal possession of a firearm and failure to secure a firearm.” All of these charges seem to require that Ahlstrand make his yard completely inhospitable to animals rarely seen in the area, and then investigated a suspicious noise by looking out the window and calling the police.

Chief Sluckis said the bear is believed to have been attracted to a 50 gallon drum of birdseed Mr. Ahlstrand had in his back yard. Mr. Ahlstrand went back inside, retrieved a shotgun and decided to shoot the bear. “Obviously we believe if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police.”

The police chief claimed that bears are “not common in Auburn,” and the last sighting was about a year ago, and Ahlstrand shouldn’t have had birdseed because?  The drum of birdseed seems to have been the basis of the “baiting” charge against him, though birdseed would seem to be bait more for birds than bears. I thought bears were fond of honey?

Always interesting when police officers are more interested in saving the lives of bears than humans. I guess self-defense only counts with armed and certified bad guys, if then.

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