H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jun 30, 2011 12:31 AM by Danielle Lerner

Controversy continues after bear shooting in San Luis Obispo

The controversy continues after a black bear is shot, killed and buried in San Luis Obispo County.

Late Tuesday night wildlife officials shot and killed the bear at a home in the 2200 block of Flora Street after it tried to enter a chicken coop. The bear broke into that same coop Monday night and killed five chickens. Over the past couple of weeks it also killed chickens at two other location. The Department of Fish and Game says it had no other choice, but many people say they don't buy it.

Maggie and Dale King's chicken coop is just about as secure as they come.

"There's the lock, then we put in the metal bars, then we put a fence post up against it and then we put cinder block against the bottom," said Maggie King.

However, just one day after the black bear ripped open a vent to get inside the King's coop, it returned again hoping for more food.

"We knew they were up here, I kept listening for sounds, it was kind of creepy," said King.

Since the bear had been to the King's coop two or three times before, wildlife officials were waiting. Then around 11 p.m. the bear returned and when it tried to get into the coop, it was shot.

"It died in our backyard," said King.

King says she understands the dangers but was hoping the bear would be relocated, and she is not alone. Hundreds of people have flooded our KSBY Facebook page, with most of the comments condemning the Department of Fish and Game's decision.

Jenifer Rabenaldt said, "There's something seriously wrong with this!"

Tiffany Leann agrees, saying, "This really upsets me. Killing an innocent animal that hasn't hurt a human in any way sounds ruthless to me."

However, the Department of Fish and Game says the bear's behavior was becoming more destructive, and that was cause for concern.

"After looking at both sides we decided that they probably made the safest decision," said King.

Wildlife officials say bears are also known to travel extremely long distances to return to a food source, so that is another reason they say relocation was not an option. They are also hoping the community can help keep bears out of the city. They are encouraging residents to pick up any fruit and trash on the ground. Residents should also clean barbecue grills, and relocate or better secure chicken coops.

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