Braudis won’t take the bait in bear brouhaha
Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said this week he has turned down a request by a Redstone resident to investigate the shooting of a bear there by a Colorado Division of Wildlife officer.Braudis received a letter Monday from Redstone resident Cheryl Haddock suggesting that Justin Martens, district wildlife manager for the Carbondale area, had possibly violated state and federal laws by killing what the DOW had deemed problem bears.Haddock is among a group of Redstone residents that became angry with the wildlife division in general and Martens in particular for killing a popular bear known as Tripod or Kylie.The wildlife division contends the bear broke into numerous homes over the course of the summer in its search for food. Martens took appropriate action with a bear that posed a potential threat to humans and the agency stands behind him “100 percent,” wildlife division spokesman Randy Hampton said earlier this month.Some residents claim the charges that the bear was breaking into homes were fabricated to justify the actions of a trigger-happy wildlife officer.Haddock’s letter was long in allegations but short in facts supporting the claims of wrongdoing. She alleged that Martens violated cruelty to animal laws and raised questions about the disposal of the bear’s carcass and organs.”I encourage you to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths and disposition of remains of the Pitkin County bears that Mr. Martens has killed this summer, and, in the event that you determine that crimes have been committed, that you refer this matter to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” Haddock’s letter says.Braudis said the allegations are of a nature that’s best investigated by wildlife experts. He said he talked to area wildlife manager Pat Tucker about the allegations and was confident that the division of wildlife has procedures in place to conduct its own internal review, if deemed necessary.He said Haddock’s request was “extremely unique” because it asked his department to investigate the actions of officials in a state agency.Braudis said his decision shouldn’t be construed as a value judgment on the merits of the allegations. He said he believes Haddock and other residents feel they have legitimate issues with Martens and the wildlife division.DOW spokesman Todd Malmsbury said the agency has a specific process where members of the public can fill out a form raising a complaint about an employee. The targeted employee’s supervisor reviews the complaint and determines, with his or her supervisor, if an investigation is warranted.In this case, Martens’ supervisor is Tucker. His supervisor is one of the four regional wildlife managers in Colorado.Malmsbury was unaware of any complaint being filed with the wildlife division about Martens.The Redstone group was also considering seeking a court-ordered injunction to stop the wildlife division from shooting any more bears, but no motion has been filed in Pitkin County District Court.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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