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Letter: Bear died a senseless death at the hands of Amherst police

I was very angry to hear that a 2-year-old male black bear was shot by an Amherst police officer.

According to the news report, the bear was retreating into an area when the officer shot it. We know the Amherst Police Department never contacted the Department of Environmental Conservation when the animal was sighted.

I called the DEC and spoke with bear specialist Ryan Rockefeller to find out more details about the senseless killing.

He said DEC Regional 9 Director for our area, Ken Baginski, had definitely notified the Amherst police (before the bear was shot) and told the police that the DEC would be out the next morning to set a bait-and-trap device to catch the animal and transport it to another area. Why wasn’t this information conveyed to the police officers on duty before the call even came in? Who made the final decision to shoot the bear. Is the officer a hunter?

Baginski had sent a memo to Rockefeller on Monday stating the bait trap would be Rockefeller’s assignment Tuesday morning.

Three people in my family have gun permits and two of them are in law enforcement. No one should ever pull a gun unless a life is in direct danger – which is a far cry from the excuse of “for public safety.”

It’s too bad the DEC can’t fine the Amherst Police Department for unnecessarily killing an animal that attacked no one.

The bear paid a high price. Next time, don’t call the police. Call the DEC.

Linda Jenkin


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