Humane Society, CUB examine bear issues | AspenTimes.com

Humane Society, CUB examine bear issues

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” In a year when Colorado Division of Wildlife officials euthanized 12 bears in the area, Humane Society volunteers now are looking for other solutions.

From 4-6 p.m. Sunday, local volunteers will hold an event at the Red Brick Center for the Arts as part of a nationwide fundraiser for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The fund is a Humane Society affiliate that raises money to support animal advocacy causes, and tracks the record of state and national legislators on animal rights.

Aspen’s volunteers will connect by conference call with U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, who currently is sponsoring a dog-fighting bill, as well as Emily Deschanel, an actress on the Fox show “Bones” and an animal-rights activist.

And Monday, the first meeting of the Roaring Fork Citizens United for Bears, or CUB, will meet at the Red Brick.

“We’re a very fledgling group,” said Barbara Shaw, a part-time valley resident and Humane Society volunteer.

“I was so saddened by all the deaths of all the bears here,” she said. “We want to learn how we can help. We want to be part of the solution.”

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Shaw said she does not agree with the DOW’s policy on bears and hopes the group can come up with other options than the DOW’s two-strikes program.

She congratulated DOW efforts to educate residents and said she supports police efforts to haze the animals out of town using loud noises and nonlethal Kevlar beanbags.

Shaw said she hopes Roaring Fork Citizens United for Bears creates a mission statement and a plan to “protect the humans and the bears.”

“The DOW says its a people problem, and I agree,” she said. “We want to find a way to do management of the bears nonlethally.”

Holly Tarry, state director for the Humane Society, will be in attendance Monday to help the group begin advocating for animals in Aspen.

“It’s really about what the community members themselves are concerned about,” Tarry said, adding that the Human Society does not dictate policy, but provides such fledgling groups with information and support.

“We want the community members themselves to work with the DOW,” Tarry said. “We certainly believe you should try everything before using lethal means to control wildlife.”

Shaw said that while human safety is the prime concern, the DOW two-strike policy kills bears that are neither violent nor aggressive.

“Those aren’t aggressive bears,” Shaw said.

She understands that aggressive bruins breaking down doors and windows must be euthanized, but said some animals are killed after only taking advantage of open doors and unlocked garbage containers.

“There must be a way to live in harmony with these wonderful creatures,” Shaw said.

For more information about either event, call Shaw at (818) 439-7429.

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