Petition Closed
Petitioning Representative Nick Rahall and 5 others

Please help change the policies that the DNR enforces to euthanize bears that are provoked, for ex: protecting cubs from an unleashed dog. The WV DNR has confirmed they would euthanize cubs also

It is beyond my comprehension that our state will euthanize a sow and her cubs for the reasons they stand by. The article below states that Virginia wouldn't act in such a manner, and many other states follow the same guidelines. Please save the bears and furture bears from the WV DNR 

 My course of action in the beginning  was first and foremost to save the sow and her cubs. Since this morning August 25th, the traps have been removed, although we do not know for certain if a bear may have been killed,  because sadly,  I do not trust Colin Carpenter. With that said, the goal is to change the WV DNR's policies to prevent future unethical practices that  would involve the  killing of a  bear that was provoked. Also, it is important to make note that no animal should be  caught with the intent to kill under the assumption it is in fact the accused animal without accurate confirmation of noticeable markings and DNA . Especially the slaying of cubs as Mr. Carpenter had stated he would do if they were caught, and quoted  in the Winchester Star. I would like an effort to go forth to prevent such cases from happening in the future which would entail those that enter a forest that is a known habitat of bears to have their dogs leashed (currently this is enforced only in recreational ares and not "general forest areas) to carry bear/pepper spray and to make themselves known to the wildlife by creating noise as not to surprise an animal that may be in the vicinity. I would also like to see DNA testing implemented when needed to confirm the animal is tin fact the animal that took part in a incident. Lastly, that no cub would be euthanized in the manner and reason that Colin Carpenter stated he would do. They should be transported to a sanctuary until they are of age to fend for themselves which is typically 13 to 17 months old.

The following are excerpts from two newspaper articles. I combined the varies statements and made comments of my own and are in parenthesis. Below in italic are bear facts of interest, taken from several websites. Pease keep in mind that the project to capture the sow and her cubs have been aborted when the traps were removed on Monday August 25, 2014.

A black bear, and her cubs, who attacked a man in Hardy County, West Virginia, will be put down if game managers can trap it, a state expert on black bears said Friday.

Colin Carpenter, West Virginia's black bear project leader with the state Division of Natural Resources, said the female bear's cubs will also be put down if captured, although they can likely survive without their mother. (At this time of year cubs are still nursing) Carpenter said game officials are following normal recommendations and guidelines in their response to the bear attack. (WV DNR recommendations and quidelines) "Any bear that makes contact with humans, we make an attempt to capture that bear and put it down," Carpenter said. (Without confirming, and only assumption, that it is in fact the same bear that made contact. ( For example: California uses DNA testing to confirm)

West Virginia authorities have set four traps covering about a mile in the George Washington National Forest where a mother bear attacked a man and his dog Thursday. 

(It is my undertanding that the WV DNR will enlist local bear hunters and their dogs and will run this bear up a tree and to be killed, she will never make it to the trap)

 Officials plan to euthanize the bear and her cubs if they are caught and test them for rabies, despite the fact that it appears the animal was provoked by the dog. If caught, all three will be “put down” and tested for rabies — although it is a slim possibility any of them have the disease, Carpenter said. (Mr. Carpenter’s comments are contradictory)

If the bears are not caught within two to four days, the department will abandon its effort.  (Seriously? Why do it in the first place then?? Especially, as you already state, you’re testing them for rabies, which is obviously not a factor if you will abandon the effort in 2 to 4 days)

Steven Krichbaum, 59, of Staunton, told authorities that he had been on a walk with his dog in the forest when they came across a mother black bear and two cubs. He was in the Hardy County, W.Va., area near Va. 55.

It was learned today that his unleashed dog, Henry, went after one of the cubs, at which point Krichbaum was attacked by the mother bear. (National forest guidelines require that the dog be on a six-foot leash at all times when in a developed recreation area and on interpretive trails.  There is no leash requirements in the general forest areas.)

The dog then attacked the bear and Krichbaum hit it with a rock, allowing them both to get away. Krichbaum is still recovering at Winchester Medical Center and the dog is recovering at a local animal hospital.

Colin Carpenter, project leader for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Black Bear Project, said today that although the attack was unusual and a freak accident, public safety was the top concern.  He acknowledged that the bear was provoked and just protecting her cubs, but the department does not want bears learning unacceptable behavior.    * (Unacceptable behavior? What behavior should she have???)

Krichbaum, who has not been able to be reached for comment, has expressed concern to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries personnel about the fate of the bear — and has said that he does not want it to be killed.

 Carpenter said that black bears are generally very docile, but the department does not want this particular bear to be left in the population.    (They CAN NOT prove the captured bear is the same sow who protected her cubs as they have no knowledge of any defining marks on the bear)

A written statement Friday from Jamie Sajecki, Virginia's black bear project leader with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the attack began when Krichbaum's unleashed dog chased after and began attacking the bear's cubs. (UNLEASHED and ATTACKED the cubs)

Sajecki said the dog disturbed a family of bears while in the George Washington National Forest with Krichbaum.

Sajecki said the female bear, also known as a sow, charged Krichbaum in an attempt to protect her cubs. The dog, reported by witnesses to be a yellow Labrador mix, then attacked the bear.

"When the dog began to attack the sow, it gave (Krichbaum) a chance to find a rock and hit the bear in order to scare her off," Sajecki said in a news release. "(Krichbaum) and the dog suffered severe injuries from the bear."

Sajecki said in an interview that her information came from a biologist in her agency who had interviewed Krichbaum in the hospital. Sajecki described the attack as "extremely rare."

Sajecki said she was unaware of anybody killed by a bear in Virginia, although some hunters have reported minor injuries. Such incidents commonly involve a dog scrapping with a bear and a hunter trying to get between them, Sajecki said. 

"So far, we've been real lucky," Sajecki said of the absence of serious injuries in human-bear encounters. "It's a testament to the true nature of these animals. They really don't want to have a confrontation with people."

Sajecki said she believed the bear targeted Krichbaum because seeing the dog chasing her cubs was highly stressful to her.

In most such incidents, a sow will try to send her cubs up a tree for safety, but the bear that attacked Krichbaum did not have a chance to do so, Sajecki said.

 

Carpenter said he was unsure whether West Virginia game officials will manage to trap the bear or her cubs. He said the bear has not been linked to any other attacks on humans and has no markings that would distinguish it from any other female bear.  * (WHICH means he has no way of confirming a bear that is trapped is in fact the same bear in question)

Carpenter said he believed the cubs will be "fine on their own" if their mother is captured but they remain at large. He said a plentiful supply of acorns, cherries and other fruits will give them a good chance of survival. (BUT he has previously stated said the female bear's cubs will also be put down if captured,) (Cubs at this age are typically still nursing) (WHYput the cubs down? Can they not be transferred to a sanctuary like they have in VA: http://wildlifecenter.org/about-center)

Sajecki said Virginia does not take action against bears if they are provoked into attacking, which appears to be the case in Thursday's incident.   (AS DO MANY OTHER STATES WHO FOLLOW THE SAME PROCEDURE)

"Because the dog precipitated this event, we wouldn't necessarily put a bear down in that situation because she was out in her habitat where she should have been," Sajecki said. "She was doing what she needed to do."   (EXACTLY)

FACTS:

By fall, cubs can weigh as little as 15 pounds or more that 160 pounds

Many people fear that bears will sense they are afraid and attack.  However, most people who see bears close-up ARE afraid-and are not attacked.  Bears look a bit like dogs but are less aggressive.   Across North America, dogs kill 16 times more people than do black, grizzly, and polar bears combined.  

Black bears developed the timid personality of a prey animal, which serves them well today among grizzly bears, wolves, and people.

When males approach maturity, usually at two or three years of age, they voluntarily leave their mothers' territories and look for mating ranges that have females, food, and not too many adult males. 

In years when nut, acorn, and berry crops fail, black bears are as quick as chipmunks to substitute human food.  They prefer natural food, though, and they return to their wild diet the next year if natural food is available.  

Pepper spray works as well on bears as it does on dogs.   In hundreds of tests, the bears didn't go away mad, they just went away-without any aggression toward the sprayer.  This bear ran away when 5-year-old Kelly sprayed it.  The next day, the bear seemed calm around Kelly's father but ran up a tree when Kelly appeared.

Black bear mothers stay with their cubs until the cubs are 16 or 17 months old. Then, in late May or June, just before the mothers begin attracting males to mate for their next litter, the mothers separate from their yearlings but allow them to remain in the maternal territory.

 

Bears are omnivores; in the wild, they eat a variety of plant and animal matter, including insects, fish, carrion, leaves, berries, nuts, and fruit. Cubs will nurse from their mothers throughout the summer and fall and will begin to sample “adult” foods when they emerge from their dens in the spring. Bears, especially yearlings, will also look for “easy food” – and will raid bird feeders, unsecured trash cans, and pet food.   CUBS ARE STILL NURSING IN THE FALL

Letter to
Representative Nick Rahall
Representative Shelley Capito
Senator John Rockefeller
and 3 others
Senator Joe Manchin
Representative David McKinley
West Virginia Governor
Please revise the WV DNR policies that would prevent such attempts to euthanize a sow and her cubs in the George Washington National Forest, in Hardy county, WV. Recent events on August 21, 2014 led a project to attempt the unethically euthanization of a black bear sow that attacked a hiker and his unleashed dog,which provoked the attack by going after her cubs. The setting of 4 traps was unsuccessful in capturing the bears by August 24th and were supposedly removed by the morning of Monday August 25th, per the black bear project leader Colin P. Carpenter.

It is our request that the WV DNR changes their policies in handling these cases, and in it's stead bring awareness and education to those who enjoy our National Parks with the wildlife who live there. We must conform to the ethical treatment of the wildlife, as do other states (for example: Virginia which has a population of 17,000 black bears compared to our estimated 8,000), to protect and respect their habitat, including their instinctual behavior, accordingly by enforcing a leash law in the National forests ( the general forest area where leashes are not enforced), the carrying of pepper spray and to encourage them to be aware of bears in the area by making themselves known either by carrying bells and or to consciously make noise while in a bear inhabited area. The bears in this instance, were not endangering human life until a dog attacked the cubs. The WV DNR's practice is to trap bears in these situations and euthanize without confirming through DNA our identifiable markings. This is unacceptable behavior with WV DNR. Please do not allow it and enact a change in their policies.