Bryant booked for attempting to save cub
Sun News Service
“She saved a bear cub. It was dehydrated, it was starving, it was dying of exposure at Squaw Valley.”
Attorney Dave DeVore defended his client, speaking into an assortment of cameras and microphones outside the Placer County Court House in Tahoe City.
Ann Bryant, charged with three different offenses for illegally removing and transporting a bear cub last March, ducked beneath the cameras’ line of vision and waved to a small child standing beyond the crowd of media – then she was called into the sheriff’s station for her booking.
On March 22, Bryant took a lone bear cub from the Squaw Valley USA ski resort in an attempt to rescue the animal.
“I still believe I did the right thing, I couldn’t let that cub die,” she said.
According to Bryant, president of the volunteer-fueled BEAR League (formerly the Bear Preservation League), the cub was weak, most likely an orphan and destined to die in the shadows of Squaw’s Funitel unless it was saved and rehabilitated.
Upon contacting the California Department of Fish and Game, Bryant said she was told to ‘haze’ the bear, or scare the animal away via screaming, shooting off firecrackers and the like.
“They said, ‘haze her, beat her with a stick,'” Bryant recalled. “I said, ‘we can’t, she’d die.’ I said, ‘I have to go against your orders, I can’t kill her.'”
After loading the cub into her Toyota Landcruiser, Bryant took the bear to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center in South Lake Tahoe for rehabilitation. Several hours after the cub’s arrival, authorities with the Department of Fish and Game took the cub from the center and transported it to their Wildlife Intervention Laboratory in Rancho Cordova.
In August the rehabilitated cub was transported to the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, Texas. Bryant reports that the cub, now called Annie, is doing well at the orphanage, which also houses several other bears.
During her Dec. 5 arraignment in Tahoe City, Bryant pleaded not guilty and was assigned a pretrial hearing date of Jan. 4 at the Placer County Courthouse in Auburn.
After her arraignment, Bryant was told that she would be booked into the jail and then released on her own recognizance; DeVore argued that his client was a long-standing member of the local community and that the booking should by waived, but his request was denied.
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