Garbage is a known attractant for bears, as are bird feeders, fruit trees, barbecues, and pet food. (P. Sulzle Photo/Special to Black Press Media)

LETTER: Bear killed needlessly

Maple Ridge fines not likely answer to bear-people conflicts, one letter writer believes

Dear Editor,

[Hope is that it’s a good news for bears this year, March 2, The News online]

The article about hoping that this will be a good year for bears in Maple Ridge really struck home, actually quite literally, as two conservation officers from Maple Ridge killed a bear in my backyard a few weeks ago.

Seems this bear had become a nuisance, because neighbours on a nearby street had been leaving their garbage out – which it had become used to feeding from.

It was doomed the moment that it charged a kid in his own driveway and chased him back into the house. I can only speculate that, because the bear was acting so territorial, this driveway was one of his food sources.

However, I never had a bear problem until the conservation officers chased the poor creature into my yard and saw it commit a crime of opportunity by destroying my bird feeders to get at the bird seed.

RELATED: $500 fine for taking the trash out too early

Not one of my neighbours has been fined for leaving garbage out, but at midnight these officers hammered on my front door to tell me off for having bird feeders – that I can never have them again (not true according to our city bylaws) – and handed me a $230 fine.

I will not pay that fine, as I was attracting birds not bears to my yard and told the fine collection agency why I will not pay that fine in no uncertain terms.

As I’m a long-standing vegetarian, who doesn’t hunt or fish, the threat by the officers that I will not be allowed a licence to hunt or fish – if I don’t pay the fine – is rather a moot point.

Haven’t heard back yet from whoever handles the dispute of tickets.

I really feel badly for that bear, I can even have some sympathy for the officers who I’m sure would rather not have killed it. But, unless the bylaws are enforced and people fined for leaving garbage out, the killing of bears will continue.

I’m sure that is true in Maple Ridge, as it is here in Mission.

Robert Rock, Mission

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