June 25, 2009

Oregon bear benefactor ordered to move

An Oregon judge Thursday ordered a woman to move out of her rural home for three years as part of her probation for feeding bears from the neighboring forest.

Karen Noyes, 61, of Yachats, also was ordered to stay out of the neighborhood, which has become a hangout for black bears who wandered in for the tasty handouts.

Noyes was convicted in a Newport courtroom on charges of chasing and harassing wildlife after Oregon wildlife agents testified they had warned Noyes as early as 2003 that she should not be feeding the bears that lived in the nearby woods.

Bears are not your pets to do with as you please, Judge Thomas Branford said from the bench.

The (Portland) Oregonian said Noyes insisted after the hearing that no one had ever told her the bears were a problem, but neighbors told the newspaper they were relieved that they would no longer have to keep a wary eye out for them.

The newspaper said one homeowner discovered a bear trying to squeeze into the house through a doggy door. Another had a bear shot after it menaced his ex-wife.