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Ilwaco Retiree Could Be First Charged Under New Law Banning Feeding Of Bears


The bears have woken up and once more that’s creating conflicts around the region. Washington Fish and Wildlife police are recommending that an Ilwaco woman face charges for allegedly feeding wild bears.

Wildlife agents have removed seven problematic black bears from her neighborhood and had to euthanize five of them since last fall.

The 70-year-old retiree could be the first person charged under a new law that bans the feeding of large wild carnivores. The Washington Legislature made that a misdemeanor in 2012.

State Fish and Wildlife deputy police chief Mike Cenci says the high concentration of habituated bears around Doris Parks' house was one example used to persuade legislators.

"If people are willing to take away attractants, if they're willing to change their behavior, we're going to work with those folks," says Cenci. "But if after being educated, you continue to obstinately cause a public safety hazard, then we're going to have to ratchet up the way we do business unfortunately."

The Pacific County, Washington prosecutor has not announced whether he will press charges based on the referral from the wildlife agents. In an interview with her local newspaper, Doris Parks says she leaves pet food out for feral cats and isn't intentionally feeding the neighborhood bears.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.