Mother Bear Dies After Being Shot By Deputy in Incline Village
Authorities say a mother bear who was found with her three cubs in a neighborhood near Lake Tahoe has died after being accidentally shot by a Washoe County Sheriff's Deputy.
A bear is dead after being shot by a Washoe County Deputy on Saturday. The Sheriff's Office says the shooting was an accident.
The bear was shot with a live round, rather than the intended rubber bullet. The deputy was trying to scare the bear and her cubs away from homes in Incline Village.
Daniel Bales, range master with the Sheriff’s Office, says to the inexperienced a live round and a rubber bullet may look similar. However, he says the deputies are trained to recognize the distinctions between the bullets.
"Almost every shotgun round has a different color depending on what it is," says Bales.
Bales says deputies are also trained to know when the intended ammunition is going to fire.
"The first round that I load in is going to be the last round that exits and gets fired," says Bales.
Sheriff Chuck Allen says unfortunately a human error and poor judgment was made which resulted in the animal losing it's life.
"Clearly when the shotgun was reloaded with the rubber rounds, they did not get loaded in the correct manner and the live rounds or the slugs were inserted into the magazine,” says Allen.
Despite efforts from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the bear could not be saved. Chris Healy, public information officer with NDOW, hopes this incident can now serve as a lesson for those living in the urban interface
"Everybody making sure they're not attracting bears to situations where the bears can become conflict animals," says Healy.
Sheriff Allen released the following statement in response to the incident:
"I am saddened to hear of the passing of the bear from yesterday's incident in Incline Village involving one of our deputies. We appreciate the efforts made by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The Sheriff's Office will thoroughly review the incident and take whatever measures are deemed appropriate."
One group has started a petition to launch a thorough investigation into the incident, for more information click here.