Mass. Environmental Police Kill Bear Seeking Refuge in a Tree Speak Out Now: Don't Let This Happen Again!
On Sunday morning, June 2, a young bear found his way into a residential neighborhood of Newton, MA, a city that prides itself on its "progressive" values.
He was first seen at about 6:15 a.m. Before 8 a.m., the bear—frightened, likely disoriented, seeking refuge in a tree above the Mass. Pike—was shot dead by the state environmental police.
According to news reports, the police say they couldn't relocate the bear because their tranquilizer gun malfunctioned. Really? Officers don't test their equipment before responding to calls--or bring back-up? They didn't consider other humane means for relocating the bear?
If so, a state police unit's negligence is what killed this animal. That should concern every citizen of Massachusetts.
Equally disturbing is Gov. Deval Patrick's lackluster response--and Newton Mayor Setti Warren's lack of response.
Two full days after the killing, Gov. Patrick was quoted in the Boston Herald: “I don’t think there’s a policy on that,” Patrick said of the killing (of) the bear, adding he had only seen a news report on the incident. “I don’t know all the details on that.”
An online search has not turned up additional comment from the governor nor any from Mayor Warren.
Both their failure to lead and apparent indifference to animal suffering should concern every humane voter.
The dead bear was given to a sportsmen’s club, which “salvaged the meat.”
MAKE THIS TRAGEDY A TRANSFORMATIVE EVENT What happened in Newton was a tragedy that should have been viewed by elected officials as a wake-up call. The problem of wildlife entering residential neighborhoods in search of food and shelter can only get worse as we continue to raze their habitats to create shopping malls and McMansions Now is the time for government agencies to develop better protocols; provide better education and training of those whose duties include managing wildlife; and ensure better supervision so they do it humanely and responsibly.
That won't happen unless the public insists. 1) No matter where you live, make these quick, easy calls NOW: Tell Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Newton Mayor Setti Warren that the public needs assurance they take this killing seriously. Chief executives of the state and municipalities must be part of the solution for humane, responsible management of wildlife, a growing concern in our over-developed communities. Call Gov. Deval Patrick: 617-725-4005, fax 617-727-9725. You may be handed off to the Office of Environmental Affairs. By all means call that office too, after leaving this message:
Let the governor’s office know—politely—that as chief executive of Massachusetts, he must take responsibility. His plea of ignorance two full days after the killing, and continued failure to speak out, is unconscionable and unacceptable.
Call Newton Mayor Setti Warren at 617-796-1000. He too is the bottom line as chief executive of the community in which the killing occurred. But he has not even issued a statement--and as of June 4, his office reported that he has no plans to do so.
Let his office know that Mayor Warren's silence is not golden. The public needs assurance he is concerned about the killing and will be part of a solution to prevent a recurrence.
Ask what steps the Governor (and Mayor) will take to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Urge that state and local agencies and personnel whose duties include managing wildlife receive sufficient education, training and supervision to do so humanely and responsibly.
With the vast amount of development usurping natural habitats and displacing wildlife statewide, Massachusetts must learn to coexist, not kill.
2) Write a short Letter to the Editor
Newspapers require you to include your name, full address and phone number for confirmation. Email your letter to:
MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS: TAKE THIS IMPORTANT, EXTRA STEP
1) Make the above calls, send a letter to the editor AND
2) Urge your Massachusetts State Representative and Senator (on Beacon Hill, not Washington, DC) to ensure that state and local agencies and personnel whose duties include managing wildlife are educated, trained and supervised to do so humanely and responsibly.
Ask your Rep and Senator to start by sending a letter to the appropriate government and law enforcement agencies and to forward a copy to you. (Keep them accountable!)