Woman Who Fed Bears Ordered Out of House

Oregonian News, Bear Hunting Magazine
06/26/2009

The 61-year-old Karen Noyes was convicted of harassing wildlife and sentenced to three years probation. She often fed the black bears that came to her home near the Oregon coast. Then after doing this for a while, things got out of hand.

One hungry bear stormed a neighbor's barn and killed 60 turkeys. Another got stuck in a doggie door. The woman asked wildlife officers to help remove the bears, but it was too late.

Now the bears all being chased from the rural area near Yachats as authorities try to restore the peace.

Lincoln County Circuit Judge Thomas Branford also ordered Noyes to stay away from her home and a seven-mile stretch of Yachats River Road for three years, beginning Aug. 31.

When humans feed bears, wildlife experts say, the bears lose their fear of humans and can become nuisances. Branford called the behavior of Noyes stunning and offensive.

"I commend you for loving the animals," the judge said, but he added, "It's not enough to love. You have to love the right way and you still haven't. Bears are not your pets to do with as you please."

Noyes was cited for feeding the bears last year after calling the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife seeking assistance. Witnesses for the state testified that she had been warned to stop feeding the bears as early as 2003 but refused to listen.

Noyes insisted she had never been warned. "He is convinced I was. None of my neighbors ever warned me. Not once. That is the truth. He has his mind made up that what Fish and Game said was true."

During the trial, neighbors testified they have become frightened to walk outside their homes because her feeding had attracted so many animals.



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