Prosecutors consider charges in bear shooting

May 17, 2011

The investigation into a November bear shooting is complete and the King County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case and should decide whether to file charges soon, spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear Nov. 11 after a homeowner reported a trapped black bear in a creek near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road. PAWS veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet left the animal paralyzed.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting the black bear by late November, but did not release additional details. Investigators said community members in the neighborhood offered tips during the search for a suspect.

The state classifies unlawful hunting of big game as a felony. Upon conviction, the state revokes all hunting licenses or tags, and suspends the violator’s hunting privileges for 10 years. The penalty also includes a $2,000 fine.

The state classifies the black bear as a game animal, but killing a bear in self-defense, or to defend someone else, should be reasonable and justified. The bear must pose a serious threat.

Veterinarians offer discounted services Tuesday for Spay Day

February 18, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 18, 2011

Spay Day returns Tuesday.

The annual effort presented by the Humane Society highlight the importance of saving animal lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats.

Spay Day is open to anyone, regardless of income level, interested in having a dog, cat, puppy or kitten spayed or neutered.

The closest participating clinic to Issaquah is South County Cats, 26828 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road, Maple Valley.

PAWS is also offering low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for Spay Day — $40 for male or female cats or kittens , and $80 for male or female dogs or puppies.

Other shelters and veterinarians in King and Snohomish counties plan to offer discounted services for Spay Day.

Investigators identify suspect in bear shooting

November 23, 2010

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators last week identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting a black bear in Issaquah in mid-November.

Veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet wound had left the animal paralyzed.

State wildlife agents had not released the name of the suspect by Nov. 22. Capt. Bill Heibner credited residents in the neighborhood near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road for offering tips to aid the investigation.

“We did have help, not just from neighbors, but also from others in the community that had heard or seen things,” he said. “That was extremely helpful in this investigation, and we appreciate the public’s support for giving us tips and leads like that.”

Read more

Investigators identify suspect in Issaquah bear shooting

November 16, 2010

NEW — 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2010

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting a black bear in Issaquah last week.

Veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet wound had left the animal paralyzed.

State wildlife agents did not release the suspect’s name or arrest the person Tuesday. The information gathered during the investigation will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if charges should be filed.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear Nov. 11 after the homeowner reported a trapped bear in a creek on the property. The animal was then transported to PAWS in Lynnwood.

Read more

State wildlife agents investigate bear shooting

November 16, 2010

PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Dondi Byrne, state wildlife officer Nicholas Jorg and PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee (from left) work to stabilize a bear injured in Issaquah. Contributed

Gunshot wound prompted veterinarians to euthanize paralyzed animal

The black bear trapped in a damp ditch near Issaquah Highlands puzzled state wildlife agents.

The animal — moaning in pain and hypothermic from the frigid rainwater in the ditch — did not appear to be injured as state Department of Fish and Wildlife agents scrambled to diagnose the tranquilized bear. The animal later had to be euthanized due to a bullet wound.

The wildlife team had responded Nov. 11 to a call from a homeowner concerned about a bear cub trapped in a logjam in a backyard near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road.

“It didn’t appear to have any injuries,” Capt. Bill Heibner said. “It appeared to be a very healthy bear with a very thick black coat, ready for hibernation and very fat.”

Even after wildlife agents transported the sedated animal to a Lynnwood wildlife facility, clues remained elusive.

“We had a dickens of a time finding anything wrong with him,” Heibner said. “There just didn’t appear to be anything.”

So, the team transferred the otherwise-healthy animal to a pen to see if the animal recovered overnight.

“We put him in the pen and figured that in 12 hours he would work through the anesthetic and the immobilization drugs,” Heibner said. “As we put him in there, we developed the film on that second set of X-rays and discovered a bullet had lodged in his spine.”

The bear — a male about a year old and weighing 135 pounds — had to be euthanized the next morning.

The gunshot caused permanent nerve damage and left the rear half of the bear paralyzed. The mystery lingered after veterinarians had to put the animal down.

“Once that bullet was discovered, of course, that added two new chapters to this whole thing as far as I’m concerned,” Heibner said.

The discovery prompted a criminal investigation.

Read more

Veterinarians euthanize injured Issaquah bear

November 12, 2010

NEW — 9:25 a.m. Nov. 12, 2010

A black bear discovered in Issaquah with a bullet lodged in its spine has been euthanized.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife agents discovered the black bear trapped in a backyard near the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday morning.

The wildlife veterinarian at PAWS, a Lynnwood wildlife rescue center, examined the bear Friday morning and determined the animal had lost the use of its hind legs. Sylvia Moss, a spokeswoman for PAWS, said the bear was then humanely euthanized.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear after the homeowner reported a trapped bear in a creek on the property. The animal was then transported to PAWS.

The bear — a male about a year old and 135 pounds — appeared to become stuck in a logjam and had endured a night in a creek on the property. The weakened animal developed hypothermia as a result.

Veterinarians discover bullet inside injured Issaquah bear

November 11, 2010

NEW — 4:10 p.m. Nov. 11, 2010

A black bear trapped in a backyard near the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday morning is in guarded condition at a Lynnwood wildlife rescue center. The bear has a bullet lodged in its spine.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear after the homeowner reported a trapped bear in a creek on the property.

The bear — a male about a year old and 135 pounds — appeared to become stuck in a logjam and had endured a night in a creek on the property. The weakened animal developed hypothermia as a result.

Sylvia Moss, a spokeswoman for PAWS in Lynnwood, veterinarianss at the center had spent Thursday afternoon attempting to stabilize the bear’s body temperature.

Read more

Pet owners, beware of distemper outbreak

April 20, 2010

King County and state wildlife officials encouraged residents to avoid feeding wildlife, keep domestic pets away from wild animals and ensure pets have updated vaccinations, in response to a canine distemper outbreak last week.

King County Animal Care and Control responded to a report of a raccoon believed to have distemper in Gilman Village just after noon April 9. Officers took the animal into custody and had the animal euthanized by a local veterinarian. King County spokeswoman Christine Lange said officers did not take the animal to a shelter due to the highly contagious nature of canine distemper.

Officials also received reports of sick raccoons in Bellevue, Redmond and Renton. Officers also picked up three raccoon carcasses on the Eastside in recent days.

The county then submitted samples from a raccoon collected in Bellevue to Washington State University for disease testing. Results from the university lab confirmed the animal had canine distemper, Lange said.

Humans cannot contract canine distemper, but the disease spreads among dogs and ferrets, as well as wild animals, such as raccoons, coyotes, skunks and weasels.

Read more

Raccoon behavior, including complaint from Issaquah, raises concerns about canine distemper

April 16, 2010

UPDATED — 12:18 p.m. April 16, 2010

King County and state wildlife officials encouraged residents to avoid feeding wildlife, keep domestic pets away from wild animals and ensure pets have updated vaccinations, in response to a suspected outbreak of canine distemper.

King County Animal Care and Control responded to a report of a raccoon believed to have distemper in Gilman Village just after noon April 9. Officers took the animal into custody.

Officials also received reports of sick raccoons in Bellevue, Redmond and Renton. Officers also picked up three raccoon carcasses on the Eastside in recent days.

The county submitted samples from a raccoon collected in Bellevue to Washington State University for disease testing. Results from the university lab confirmed the animal had canine distemper, King County spokeswoman Christine Lange said Friday afternoon.

Read more