New Hampshire Couple Charged with Feeding Bears

Officials say they've received complaints for 6 years

Stoddard, NH - A New Hampshire couple is charged with feeding bears, according to a release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Authorities say N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers charged Richard Whitney, 71, of Stoddard, and Sandra Sherman, 69, with intentionally feeding bears.

A law enacted in 2006 in the Granite State prohibits feeding bears because it may result in injuries, damage to property or public nuisances.

Officials say conservation officers started getting reports of bear feeding back in 2011.  Officers then sent a letter to Mr. Whitney telling him about the law, and requesting he stop, according to a release.

In 2013 and 2014, officers say they received complaints of a higher number of bears near Whitney's and Sherman's home.  An officer spoke to Whitney in the spring of 2014, according to officials, and saw four bears nearby, including one eating sunflower seeds at the front door.  Whitney was charged, and plead guilty, according to authorities.

This spring, officers received more complaints about the pair feeding bears.  Authorities say officers saw Sherman feeding a bear by hand in April.  Officers say eight to ten bears were seen in the yard.

"In addition to conditioning the bears to see human residences as a place to find food, Whitney and Sherman are creating an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situation for their neighbors. The public's safety is at risk when bears lose their fear of humans. In addition, disregard for the law cannot be tolerated," said Lt. David Walsh in a release.

For more information about avoiding bear/human conflicts, click here.


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