Oregon woman who fed bears loses appeal in high court

A 63-year-old woman from Yachats, Oregon, lost a civil appeals case with the state's highest court after she was convicted of harassing wildlife and banished from her home. It was the final chapter in two years of legal proceedings surrounding the case.

The woman, whose story became high-profile both locally and nationally for its bizarre nature, made a habit of feeding bears from her yard in Yachats, Oregon. This behavior caused numerous bears to congregate in the area, making them a nuisance for the woman's neighbors. One neighbor even found a bear crawling through her dog door, creating a dangerous environment for everyone in the area.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife warned her to stop the practice.

Acquitted of five counts of reckless endangerment, the woman was found guilty of chasing and harassing wildlife. As a result, a Lincoln County circuit judge ordered the woman to pay a $5,000 fine and leave her home and remain seven miles away from it for three years.

The Oregon Supreme Court has now rejected the woman's petition for a review of the case, the last breath of her appeal on the charges.

After moving to California and seeing her appeal thrown out, the woman said she has no intention of moving back to Oregon, and she no longer feeds bears or other wildlife.

Loneliness is what ultimately made the woman begin to feed the bears, among other wildlife. She began the hobby in 2002 when her husband died in a fatal car accident. The year before, her daughter also passed away.

Source: The Oregonian, "Bear lady of Yachats loses final appeal, says she's done with Oregon - and bears," Lori Tobias, Aug. 30, 2011.

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