Man Who Killed Grizzly Bear to Protect His Family Shouldn't Go to Jail

grizzly bearA man pleaded not guilty this week to murder ... of a grizzly bear. Actually, authorities are deeming the crime of shooting a “protected” animal a misdemeanor.

Jeremy Hill was on his 20-acre property in Idaho when a mama grizzly (the real kind, not the Sarah Palin kind) and two of her cubs wandered into his yard and started going after some pigs that the family was raising. Five of Hill’s six children (ages 10 months to 14 years) were home at the time of the incident.

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Fearing for the safety of his family, Hill shot one of the bears and killed it. The other two were scared away. He then reported the kill to law enforcement, rather than burying the animal himself.

For doing the responsible thing and not trying to cover up the gristly grizzly death, Hill found himself in court. He faces up to a $50,000 fine, a year in prison, and a year of probation.

Is this bizarro world? Since when are bears more important than people? Species preservation (no matter how important it is) cannot come at the expense of children's safety

State Senator Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, supports Hill, and worries that punishing him for reporting the death of a grizzly will actually damage efforts by the government to protect the bears. She says, "The charges are simply unjust ... Hopefully common sense will prevail. It's clearly an issue of protecting the family."

The Boundary County commissioners also stand by Hill, saying in a statement Monday that he had "not only the right, but the obligation to protect his children and his family." They hope to get Idaho Governor Butch Otter to dismiss the charge.

 

Image via lowjumpingfrog/Flickr

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