Friday, August 12, 2011

A good decision on Bear Lady!

A good decision on Bear Lady!

When I was growing up, I had a lot of pet wild animals. I had ground squirrels, grey squirrels, flying squirrels, I had a few snakes for a day or two, and let them go. I just couldn’t warm up to the idea of having a snake as a pet. Frogs were much cooler. Somehow I liked the idea of raising frogs. We would gather tadpoles and put them in the stock trough. The mosquitoes, that were already in the trough, provided plenty of food. They would grow legs and become frogs. As soon as they were big enough to make it on there own we would take them down to Ten Mile Creek, that drains the south end of Laytonville, and turn them loose like proud parents pushing their children out into the great big world.

My sister and I would gather milkweed and Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. We would raise them in a shoe box. Soon they would hang from a leaf, shed their skin and become a chrysalis. The chrysalis would shed it’s akin after a while and become a Monarch Butterfly, a most beautiful creature, and still my favorite bug.

One time I brought home a baby coon, it was the cutest thing that you ever saw. I imagined the he was going to become my closest friend. My dad, who was much smarter than me, told me to put it back where I found it, instantly. He said that coons would always become mean. That they are too smart and can never really be trained. They almost always become biters and they can never be trusted. The best pet is a neutered male. But, the females always get mean. That was back before I understood all the wild animal mating rituals. Now, I understand that Mommas, as a rule, don’t put up with much of anything, but getting their own way.

Most of my family had wild animal pets through the years. All of my uncles had pet deer at one time. The deer were released and allowed to be on the ranch, but it was well understood that they were not to be trusted in any way. Just the other day I read that somebody had been killed by his own pet deer. Two bucks got in a fight and gored him to death.

It’s alright to love wild animals, but they don’t make good pets. There are exceptions, that I won’t tell you about, because I don’t want you out gathering up my wild friends just to make yourself happy. Most of the pets that my family and I had were orphans of some kind. So, it was a choice to raise them and turn them loose or let them die. One of the cutest, but least likely to be a good pet, is a river otter. I’ve handled one as a baby, but never raised one. My cousin Oregon even had a pet 'Possum. It's teeth looked like little needles and it had two or three different sets of canine teeth on the way to the back of it's mouth. You didn't want to hurt its feelings, or it would play dead. All those teeth and it's defence mechinism is to "Play Possum".

So, I guess what I trying to say is that I understand The Laytonville Bear Lady. But alas, I also understand that a person really can’t tame a bunch of wild bears. The have a tendency to become overBEARing.

The Following is from the A.P.
UKIAH, Calif. — A woman who turned her rural Northern California home into a spa for wild bears won't go to jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of feeding big game.

After Lynne Gravier entered her plea in Mendocino County Superior Court on Monday, Judge Richard Henderson set her sentencing date for three years from now, on Aug. 8, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. If Gravier stays out of trouble and stops feeding bears, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge then.

Gravier, 77, known as the "Bear Woman," set up a plush hangout for her furry friends at her 40-acre Laytonville property, complete with a kiddie pool and a buffet of cornmeal and peanut butter sandwiches, sometimes laced with glucosamine to ease the arthritis pain in older bears.

Authorities who raided the property in response to neighbor complaints last August found a total of 15 black bears who regularly relaxed inside Gravier's house and on her deck. She also fed 18 cats, three dogs, 40 peacocks and other wildlife out of her home, which was covered in filth.

California Department of Fish and Game wardens called it the worst example of bear feeding they had ever encountered.
Gravier's supporters protested her prosecution, defending her as an animal lover. But neighbors complained that she drew in bears that terrorized the community by breaking into homes, ransacking feed sheds and chasing livestock.

"This lady may have thought she was doing a good thing," Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster told the Chronicle. "We don't want to bash her, but we have to get her attention and get her to recognize that her feeding the bears was causing a problem for the neighbors and, frankly, is dangerous."

Under the terms set by prosecutors, Gravier may not return to her Laytonville property. The house was condemned last year.

"The end result to me was very positive," Gravier said. "I'm glad that it is over and I can go on."



Anonymous said...

I won't say a word..


Ernie Branscomb said...

Sometimes, they say, "discretion is the better part of valor."

Ol' Will Shakespeare said that, but he probably didn't have to deal with Bear ladies,

Ross Sherburn said...

The Graviers are "shirt tail" cousins to me,way back from Covelo days,but they don't know it!!
Just thought I'd add that little bit of history,LOL!!

Ross Sherburn said...

BTW,I think they did the "right" thing!!

Ross Sherburn said...

Ernie,about the pet Coons,My dad said it a different way.
He said they would get very ""BOLD"" after awhile,same thing,I guess???

Ross Sherburn said...

About 1959 we had a pet Skunk.It used to sleep with me, until it went wild.Probably a Reed Mountain Skunk??One of the Choppers gave it to us.
Oregon,am I talking too much???

Anonymous said...

Ernie's sister, Sharon had a skunk and it needed a pedicure and was a little musky but was pretty and friendly.


Ernie Branscomb said...

I think that this must be like last night, where I had to talk to myself.

My sister had a pet skunk called Phew-Bug. He was deodorized and had all his shots. That was back when it was legal.

olmanriver said...

I was reading last night in The Everyday History of Somewhere by Ray Raphael about the settler who had three pet skunks that would sleep by the stove. ONe night he awoke to something chewing on him, so he pitched the critter off. The next night he got chewed on again, and that led to the end of his pet skunks.
Hate that when your pets start eating you!

Anonymous said...

"I think this must be like last night, where I had to talk to myself"

Now you know how I feel when you don't post on your own blog for days at a time, no explanations, no warnings, just plain neglect as I see it.


P.S. No I had to work excuses either.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I think just about anyone understands why she shouldn't be feeding bears. Bears can be a very big, and dangerous pests if they are fed and lose their fear of man.

The bear lady should have been stopped as soon as anyone became aware of what she was doing. I can't understand what went wrong with the system there. More money than God isn't an excuse this time. The balance of nature will be out of whack for many, many years.

Some women have that born desire to mother everything that moves. Most end up with dozens of cats. It’s a very common malady of little old ladies, and it is as incurable for women as pedophilia is for a small percentage of men.

But, jail won’t help of cure her, the disease is incurable, the only thing that will keep her away from it, is constant supervision.

Pit bulls are something else that people should be smarter than keeping. Most are ticking bombs. A pregnant lady was just killed in Pacifica by her husbands pit bull.
Now, all that aside, Phil is a friend of mine also. I did his refrigeration work at the service station for a few years. If I wasn’t friends with people because they are different from me I wouldn’t have one single friend.

Ross Sherburn said...

Where is her property at? I know the area some what!

spyrock said...

i don't really mind people having animals as long as they can control them. uncle delbert used to have nine dogs and a wild pig as pets. everyone of those dogs had a job to do. pheasant hunting dogs, duck hunting dogs, deer hunting dogs, cattle herding dogs, lap dogs and a pig buddy, the cattle herding dog, the black and white long hairs always had an attitude and weren't friendly. but everyone else was ok with kids and if they got out of line he would make sure it never happened again. today, people have dogs for protection. my brother in law lives in san mateo and has a part pit boxer mix that he sleeps with instead of his wife. they came up to chop would and that dog snuck up behind me and bit the back of my leg just being protective of his master. he didn't respond well when i told him he better control his dog. so the next time he came up to get wood, i went to a baseball game rather than help them split it. probably the same thing happened in san mateo when the husbands pit thought he was protecting his master by killing his wife and unborn child. so what action would you recommend when someones dog gets out of line. complain to the owner? then shoot the dog or shoot the dog first. kick the dog. try to be friends with the dog. feed the dog. let the dog hump your leg. let the dog herd you around your own property. or pretend you are the alpha dog and that dog is your b word.

Ross Sherburn said...

I only want a dog that will bark some,if something might be going on around the house.
I just need to be alerted,then I can go for an equalizer!!!

Ross Rowley said...

We had a family reunion at Benbow one year and a cousin brought a pet skunk. Half of the family was appalled.

My mother used to hand feed a family of raccoons from her kitchen window. She fed them dog bisquits. They would come in every night. One day, they just up and moved. We were glad. Rabies ain't pretty.