Online Petition Demands Charges Against North Carolina Group Caught on Camera Pulling Cubs From Tree

Online Petition Demands Charges Against North Carolina Group Caught on Camera Pulling Cubs From Tree

Some people want charges to be brought against a group that was caught on camera pulling bear cubs from a tree, even though the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said there would be no charges.

A video from last week shows a group of people taking selfies with at least one black bear cub after pulling it out of a tree at the Berrington Village Apartments in Buncombe County.

News 13 had already talked to Ashley Hobbs, a biologist for NC Wildlife Special Projects. She was at the scene that day with deputies and took one of the cubs that was still there to a care center.

“It makes me mad when people are that careless around animals; living in the mountains with these animals is a blessing,” she said.

Friday, NC Wildlife said in a statement that officers had looked into what happened and that, while it was dangerous and sad, it seems to have been a one-time thing.

“It is against the law in North Carolina to catch and keep black bears. The cubs were quickly set free, though, and police have decided not to press charges, NC Wildlife said.

The agency said that both wildlife cops and biologists had talked to the people about how important it is to leave bear cubs alone. They hope that the attention this incident got from the media will make people remember how important it is to stay away from wild animals.

Since NC Wildlife made this choice, a lot of people have spoken out about how they think it is unfair.

An internet petition called “Demand Legal Action Against North Carolina Group for Animal Cruelty” was started by a group of people, and by Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,500 people had signed it.

People signed the plea to get justice for the cubs and hold the group responsible for what they did accountable, saying that they were cruel to the animals.

Nicole Kerschen, who helped start the petition, said that she found the video very upsetting and thought that the people who made it should be charged.

She said, “I think charges should be brought, it shouldn’t be a slap on the wrist.”

She said that they hope to keep getting signatures to try to get NC Wildlife to change their mind about not filing any charges.

News 13 talked to Captain Branden Jones of NC Wildlife Support Services on Tuesday afternoon. He said that they were able to talk to people who were at the scene of the crime and, after watching the video, learned that it happened on private property in a residential area.

“There are many things to consider when enforcing the law,” he said. “Unfortunately we think the law is very black and white but there’s a lot of different things that go into criminally charging someone.”

He said that they couldn’t show if the cub they found at the scene of the crime was hurt before or during the incident because they were able to take it to a rehab center.

“From what I can tell, no bears were hurt or killed in that incident. The bear that is in rehabilitation has been paired with another orphaned bear,” he said.

Jones said that it is against the law in North Carolina to catch and keep black bears, but there’s no proof that this group planned to do that.

“They let the bear go almost right away after holding it. That didn’t change the fact that they shouldn’t have been touching bears, but that was taken into account when deciding not to press charges,” he said.

He also said he was sure this was an isolated event and that it should be used to teach people and serve as a reminder to stay away from animals and leave them alone.

The study will not change, and the choice not to press charges will remain the same.

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