Bearly Legal: Good Samaritans May Have Broken Law Helping Cub Wi - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Bearly Legal: Good Samaritans May Have Broken Law Helping Cub With Skin Disease

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Drew Bollea, CBS Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- Bear cub patient #4319, or "Eve," is on the road to recovery.

The black bear was found with a skin disease in Butte County and brought to a specialist to be rehabilitated. But the good Samaritans may have broken some laws in the process.

"She was going into the coma stage," explained Amy Bryant, the head of the Bear League in the Tahoe area.

She couldn't refuse the little bear and took her in when she was dropped off by the people who found the bear in Butte County.

"She actually doesn't look like a bear. She looks like a chupacabra," said Bryant.

Bryant has been rescuing sick and injured wild animals in the Tahoe area for decades. This bear has a skin disease that can be deadly in the winter months.

"Once they get the mange, they lose all their hair, and that's when they need the medical attention," she explained.

How the bear got to her was technically against the law.

"It's illegal, but primarily, it's a safety issue," said Andrew Hughan with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He says anyone who comes across a wild animal in need should keep their distance and contact the authorities.

"Don't touch it, don't try to lure it anywhere," said Hughan.

"We have to be careful, and the public has to be careful about what they and we can do when we find animals in need like this," said Bryant.

Bryant says she has the expertise to render care but does have to walk a fine legal line to do so.

"We have to do what we know is right instead of sometimes what we know is legal," explained Bryant.

Bryant housed the bear for a week to stabilize the cub before contacting trusted individuals within the Department of Fish and Wildlife. She then organized the bear's transfer to long-term care near San Diego.

"We have to be able to follow our heart," said Bryant.

Hughan discourages people from interfering with wildlife mainly for their own safety.

"I understand the passion. I understand you want to help wildlife, but it's very important that you let the professionals handle it," said Hughan.

Eve will be kept in a controlled environment by the Fund for Animals. She'll be reintroduced to the wild after her hair grows back and she puts on weight.


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