Karen Noyes has been feeding bears for years, ever since one showed up as she was providing food to the birds outside her Yachats home.
“It scared me,” she said. “Then I thought ‘why should I feed them and not him?’ ”
Her neighbors and a Lincoln County prosecutor have an answer to the question. They say Noyes’ actions put herself and the community in danger.
“She created a situation where bears weren’t afraid of people anymore,” Deputy District Attorney Elijah Michalowski said. “People were telling her she needed to stop, yet she refused. She not only put herself at risk, she put all her neighbors at risk.”
Noyes, 61, is being tried this week on charges of harassing wildlife and recklessly endangering another person. If convicted, she could be ordered to pay fines and spend time in prison. Before the trial, she told The Oregonian newspaper that she once fed as many as 25 bears on a regular basis, but is now down to six. “They are perfectly safe,” she said. “They are timid and really sweet.”
Bears are a big problem in the coastal area; but it's we who have created that problem. Our actions have set in motion the situations that have forced bears to come closer to humans, our habitats, invade our space. We've been invading theirs, along with destruction of their habitats.
Bears are magnificant, but they're no house pet.
I'm all for the bears, but I'm also for common sense, and like to live a while longer; at any rate, don't want to leave this plane because I was mauled to death by a bear. I'm fearful when I walk about in a lot of areas out there because of the bear population having come closer; literally in everyone's backyards.
It's sad to think that probably, this can only get ugly, but I'll still hold out some hope humans will use both compassion and common sense.
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