A jury found a 77-year-old Washington woman guilty of intentionally feeding black bears at her home, and she claims it was because she's "from Switzerland."
Seattle Times said Tuesday (June 7) that it took less than an hour to convict Doris Parks during her one-day trial in Pacific County’s South District Court.
"They should be ashamed of themselves dragging me through the court. Me, a 77-year-old woman. Let’s say I’m not their favorite person, never will be. Maybe it’s because I’m from Switzerland," Parks told reporters in an interview after the trial.
“To my knowledge, she’s been the only one prosecuted,” Sgt. Todd Dielman said, who is with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Typically, we try to work with the property owners. ‘Hey, stop providing food for bears.’ There’s probably some infractions written.”
Security videos taken by Parks' neighbor show bears casually strolling around the woman's property, but it did not show them eating or any food left out. A report by Wildlife Officer Paul Jacobson claims he “observed up to five bears enter and leave the back-deck area" on several occasions at the property. He even wrote that some of the bears “were extremely fat and not what a normal bear would look like.”
Wildlife officials said feeding bears makes them lose their fear of humans and associate them with food. This can lead to more home break-ins and euthanizing them to protect citizens, they added.
"Parks said she’s appealing the verdict, as she faces a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on the misdemeanor charge of intentionally feeding or attempting to feed large wild carnivores, or intentionally attracting large wild carnivores," Seattle Times wrote.
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