A three-legged bear killed by angry homeowners in August has upset some residents of the upscale housing community the beast called home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a debate over how to handle “nuisance bears” is raging after the animal’s death.
The three-legged bear was described as a skinny and playful creature, almost Yogi Bear like in its habit of breaking into homes to steal pies and, we assume, pic-a-nic baskets. The animal was known to raid trash cans and chill on the golf course, and residents in Mountain Air, about 35 miles north of Asheville, got to the end of their rope in August and shot the poor black bear dead before he could be saved.
The three-legged bear had a group of supporters, all of whom had tried to find sanctuary for the animal before he was put down for his crimes. And now they are speaking out about what they say is a bad public policy regarding nuisance bears, recommending the way the annoyance is treated by revised to protect the animals after the black bear’s death.
Millie Bowling told ABC that the three-legged bear killed was part of a larger allowance to kill bears with impunity, one she says is terrible:
“When it comes to nuisance bears, the state’s policy is simple: shoot them … And that’s just wrong. That needs to change.”
Leslie Hayhurst runs a local animal sanctuary, and concurs:
“The idea of shooting bears should be an absolute last resort.”
But David Cobb, of the Division of Wildlife Management, defended the practice and said the three-legged bear was killed because he was a menace to the community:
“This was an animal that had caused damage to property multiple times, and the property owners decided they were going to address that issue. And they did.”
The three-legged bear killed was part of a growing population of black bears in the North Carolina mountains.