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Vermont man fined $868 for putting out plates of food for wild bears

By
Ben Hooper
A bear walks among plates of food a Vermont man put out in his yard to feed local black bears. Photo by Vermont Fish & Wildlife/Facebook
A bear walks among plates of food a Vermont man put out in his yard to feed local black bears. Photo by Vermont Fish & Wildlife/Facebook

WILMINGTON, Vt., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Vermont wildlife officials said a man was fined $868 after wardens caught him feeding wild black bears in his yard.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife said Wardens Richard Watkin and Lt. Greg Eckhardt executed a search warrant at the Wilmington home of James Burke and witnessed "several bears" eating from plates of food in the yard and acting "indifferent to human presence."

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The agency shared a photo of a bear walking among the plates of food on Facebook.

Officials said Burke was convicted of two misdemeanor counts and fined $868 for feeding the bears, which was made illegal by a 2013 law.

The agency said Burke was repeatedly warned about feeding bears over the years and officials offered to work with him to wean the bears off his food source, but the search warrant was issued when they discovered that bears fitted with radio collars for a habitat study were continuing to frequent the property.

"Wardens noted a large number of bears that were killed along the road near the man's residence," the Facebook post said.

"Fed bears no longer behave like wild animals. They can present a danger to people and property and often need to be put down," officials wrote.

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