Anchorage police: Please don't tase the bears

Posted: Wednesday, August 04, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Just because an off-duty Anchorage police officer used a Taser on a black bear doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Police issued a statement Monday saying Lt. Dave Parker's use of a Taser amounted to an unnecessary risk. The jolt on July 22 drove off a black bear that was attracted to a fish fryer at Parker's home.

A bear shot and killed the next day by another homeowner is believed to have been the same animal.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Fish and Game officials have been researching the use of Tasers on nuisance bears but have not determined the effectiveness of the stun guns.

The concern is that a bear might not be incapacitated and could turn around to attack the shooter, said Jessy Coltrane, acting Anchorage-area wildlife biologist. Or it could run away in a rage after the shock and attack someone down the road, she said.

Rick Sinnott, retired Anchorage-area wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, said in a letter to the editor published Saturday that the public won't take the law on feeding game seriously if police don't. He suggested Parker fine himself $300 for negligently allowing the bear to get human food.

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