Tahoe Vista family receives threats after bear killing
In the aftermath of a bear shooting at a Kings Beach family’s home last week, that family, as well as another family in the same neighborhood, are receiving threatening phone calls and notes.
Last week an official from the California Department of Fish and Game and a Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy shot a bear on the property of Spencer and Deanna Marsh who live on the 1000 block of Canterbury Drive after it entered their home and wouldn’t leave the area.
Now the Marshes as well as their neighbors, also visited by the bear, are receiving threatening phone calls and letters, said Sgt. Bill Langton of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, who is investigating the threats.
Things said in the threats include, “It’s your fault the bear got killed,” Langton said.
“Threats like this usually happen after a bear is killed,” Langton said. “The threats are never usually carried out.”
He could not release any further information because it’s still under investigation.
Deanna Marsh said they did receive death threats and they have no idea who is making the calls.
“We’re actually quite pleased now, things have really quieted down,” said Marsh, whose home the bear entered.
A device has been put on the Marshes’ phone logging all of the numbers that come in on their phone.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has found a suspect for the person making threatening calls to the other family visited by the bear, she said.
Ann Bryant, co-founder of the Bear Preservation League, said she’s very upset there have been accusations league members are making threatening calls to these people.
Bryant is suspicious that people who profit from bear killings are trying to plant the blame on the league.
Bear gall bladders, among certain groups, are considered an aphrodisiac and are sold on the black market for thousands of dollars.
“Those that are profiting from bear killings are intimidated by us that’s why I’m concerned,” Bryant said.
But she said she doesn’t necessarily believe the gall bladder was taken from the bear killed recently.
The California Department of Fish and Game broke its policy, she said, by not performing a necropsy.
When a bear is killed for public safety, Bryant said it’s usually supposed to be sent to a university for a necropsy, which is basically an autopsy for a dead animal.
Lt. Ken Nilsson of the Department of Fish and Game said they didn’t feel an necropsy was necessary for several reasons.
First, they didn’t need to look for evidence connecting the bear to the house because they witnessed it entering the home.
Second, they didn’t have to check the bear to see if it made contact with a human because they had been watching the bear.
And third, it showed no physical attributes or strange behavior that would give good reason for it to be lingering around homes.
“The bear’s body was taken to a remote place and dumped,” Nilsson said.
He said he is aware that there is an illegal market for bear parts.
“But to suggest we’re involved is a slap in the face,” he said.
Bryant said she wished there had been better communication with the sheriff’s office long before the incident at the Marsh’s home.
“The bear had been causing problems prior to that incident and the sheriff’s office received calls. We should have been informed by the sheriff’s office that people made these complaints,” she said. “We’re here to make their jobs easier.”
Bryant said she has plans to try and iron out the communication problems between the sheriff’s office and league.
“We’re here to make their jobs easier,” she said.
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