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Auburn Bear Shooting Justified, Department of Fish and Wildlife Says

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AUBURN --

A Department of Fish and Wildlife ranger says a man who shot and killed a female bear that had eaten his chickens was justified in shooting it.

The bear lay in the street on Saturday after it was shot at least twice by a man who didn't want to identify himself. He said the bear threatened him and his dog on Saturday morning, and he fired on it when it came back an hour later.

He told FOX40 that it was in self-defense.

Marguerite Bailey who lives across the street, first reported the bear to authorities that morning after she saw it lounging on her driveway. A dead chicken was nearby.

"He was just laying there, feathers all over his face," Bailey said.

Bailey said at no time did she feel threatened by the animal. The bear sauntered away when she opened her garage door.

Deborah Denny said the bear liked to rest in a large oak tree in her backyard. She said bears and other wildlife are no strangers to the neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from a steep canyon in Auburn.

She said the shooter sometimes leaves his chickens to roam the streets.

"We didn't have any fear of this bear, so (we) kind of feel that he just wanted chickens, and maybe it was a little much to shoot him," Denny said.

But Denny also says she didn't witness the shooting and it was possible the man felt threatened.

Bailey feels the man was within his rights.

"Can't you protect your own property?" Bailey said.

Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Patrick Foy said a person who kills a bear after violating rules on leaving garbage unsecured is subject to prosecution.

But that doesn't apply to people who leave their chickens to roam the neighborhood because people have a right to protect their livestock from predators.

"After an investigation the case is closed. The man did the right thing and the shooting was justified," Foy.

Foy said the same bear had generated 15 complaints by neighbors in just the month of July, and because their behavior is unpredictable it posed a danger to residents.

Bear advocates say they are generally after an easy meal and usually pose no threat to humans.

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