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Oroho, Space and Wirths: More bear attacks are inevitable if Gov. Murphy lets politics trump wildlife science

NEW JERSEY – An encounter with a black bear on her own property sent an 81-year-old Sussex County woman to the hospital and claimed the life of her pet dog this week in Sparta Township, and District 24 lawmakers say Governor Murphy’s deference to political considerations is at fault.

“How many more times will the Murphy Administration allow this to happen before they finally leave wildlife management to the professionals?” asked Senator Steve Oroho. “The experts should be determining a sound bear management policy for New Jersey. Instead, the Administration has settled on a politically motivated policy that is dangerous and irresponsible.

“A controlled hunt helps stabilize the bear population and when it was employed it showed it works,” Oroho continued. “So let’s leave the decision to the wildlife management professionals and not to the whims of politicians.”

The incident happened on January 3, at around 7:00 p.m., when the woman had put out her garbage earlier for Tuesday pickup. When she let her dogs out, there were two bears that had torn open the garbage bags and were sitting there eating the garbage and they headed toward the bears.

The woman reported that the bigger bear ran toward the woods, but the other bear stood its’ ground and swatted at the English Springer Spaniel, knocking it to the ground. She ran toward the bear yelling and attempted to get her dog away from the bear and the bear bit and scratched her. The bear picked up her dog and dragged it into the woodline, with her other dog in pursuit.

Officers located the mortally injured dog and transported it to the animal hospital, where it succumbed to its’ injuries, police said.

“As serious as it was, this could have been much worse,” Assemblyman Parker Space said. “Things went bad in a hurry, and that is exactly what can happen when there are too many bears in the wild and they encroach on residential areas in search of food. The Governor’s prohibition on bear hunting is contributing to this growing problem, making more potentially deadly interactions inevitable.”

In October 2020, Governor Murphy announced it would be “the last bear hunt under my administration.”

The New Jersey Fish and Game Council in September approved an emergency order to reestablish a black bear hunt for a minimum of one month, but the Murphy Administration stood in the way.

“The Governor is obviously more interested in keeping his campaign promise to political allies than protecting New Jersey residents,” said Assemblyman Hal Wirths said. “Without a safe hunt to control the bear population, we’re going to continue to see more cases of people being hurt or killed. This stubbornness is putting lives at risk and there is no excuse for it. Governor Murphy needs to follow the science and allow for a bear hunt.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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