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GOV'T. READY TO KILL A LOVED HARMLESS BEAR
November 11, 2005
GRANTS PASS, Oregon � A loved former family member could soon face extermination by a stainless steel needle that releases deadly drugs into body tissue. Another bear problem solved that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department (ODFW) no longer has to deal with. Only this family member happens to be a healthy, loving bear, and a black bear by birth, with an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 relatives living in Oregon.
Two loggers, Rocky and Jonathan Perkett, rescued a black bear at a logging site in Coos County, Oregon, after hearing the bear wail for several days. They called her Windfall, and she became a loved family member. Windfall quickly took on human characteristics. She slept on Jonathan�s bed, took showers, and enjoyed being dried with a blower. It was even said Windfall learned to open doors. She had the run of the place and after two years weighed 150 pounds. And therein lies the problem. The neighbors complained to authorities. The police came out with a warrant on October 24, grabbed Windfall, and charged the Perketts with illegally holding a bear. That charge may be hard to prove since the bear had the freedom to come and go at will.
Nobody Wants Windfall
ODFW wildlife biologist Stuart Love told the media that Windfall was sent to a holding facility in California. Now ODFW officials complain that they can�t find any approved place that will accept Windfall in the United States. Most bear holding facilities want exotic bears rather than a common black bear. Sounds like a bit of discrimination going on here, and that�s illegal except for bears.
DA Has Common Sense
The problem is that once a bear has developed an attachment for humans it can�t go back into the wild and generally can�t assimilate with other bears. So there definitely is a situation to be resolved here, but sticking a death needle into Windfall is not an acceptable answer.
The Coos County District Attorney Paul Burgett seems to be the only person with a bit of common sense in what to do with Windfall. Burgett, a district attorney with a heart, is in favor of letting Windfall go to a good humane facility even if it doesn�t have a permit from the ODFW. It appears Burgett doesn�t want the ODFW to let the bear die to accommodate ODFW�s bureaucratic policies.
Answer to Windfall�s Problem
The answer is right here in Josephine County at the famous Wildlife Images operated by executive director Dave Siddon. There already are 11 black bears and a grizzly or two at the animal rehabilitation center. The animals are safe, secure, and well cared for. The center is open for public tours and to a large extent is publicly supported. This would be an ideal home for Windfall. ODFW officials need to be practical and work with a great organization that cares about animals. Windfall couldn�t find a better home under the circumstances. The fact is Wildlife Images is not certified with ODFW. If ODFW employees don�t have the imagination to solve this problem other than killing the bear, when the solution is in front of them they need to find another line of work, so new employees with a can do attitude can fill their positions.
ODFW 'Stuck on Stupid' Rule
If the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife doesn�t quickly find a solution to allow Windfall to go to a ready and waiting home like Wild Life Images in Josephine County, they will soon have a national image problem and be known as the Oregon Death of Fish and Wildlife. (ODFW)
In the words of one ODFW official �the bear�s life is hanging by a thread.� ODFW could send the bear to Wildlife Images if they wanted to do that and save the bear�s life. Rules can be modified. A quick rule change would make everyone happy. If the reader agrees, then time is of the essence, and he/she needs to contact ODFW and tell them not to kill Windfall but send her to Wildlife Images.
The following are ODFW�s phone number and email. (503) 947- 6000. The man in charge of ODFW is named Lindsay Ball and the following is his email address [email protected]
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and no other organization. Wildlife Images is a non-political organization focused on the caring for, protection, and rehabilitation of animals at their refuge. If the reader would like to contact Wildlife Images they may do so through their website or [email protected]
Taft can be reached at joconewsl[email protected]
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John Taft former president of Josephine County, OR. Taxpayers Association is presently an investigative reporter for the US-Observer and NewsWithViews.com. He has had many years of broadcasting, news writing and reporting experience. He also has written a popular conservative newsletter for a taxpayers organization to inform the public on taxing issues.
They called her Windfall, and she became a loved family member. Windfall quickly took on human characteristics. She slept on Jonathan�s bed, took showers, and enjoyed being dried with a blower.