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California Lawyer
California Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 953
Experience:  Licensed to practice law in California
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I was unhappy to learn that the local police in the

Customer Question

I was unhappy to learn that the local police in the California city I call home have been shooting beanbags at black bears, possibly even cubs. The bears live in the mountains, and over the years, people have bought land and built homes in or near the bears' habitat. There has not yet been a bear attack on a person or a domestic animal.The bears can be seen walking around the neighborhoods at night, and rarely, in the day. They dig through unsecured trash cans, and bathe in swimming pools and hot tubs. They have tried to enter homes.I don't know how long the police have been shooting beanbags at bears. They are open about it; they mention it in their weekly police blotter. The operative word is shot, not "beanbag." Beanbags sound cuddly, but a lot depends on velocity. To whit:"A bean bag round can severely injure or kill in a wide variety of ways. They have caused around one death a year since their introduction in the U.S. A round can hit the chest, break the ribs and send the broken ribs into the heart. A shot to the head can break the nose, crush the larynx or even break the neck or skull of the subject. This is why many officers are taught to aim for the extremities when using a bean bag round. A strike in the abdominal area can cause internal bleeding or strike the solar plexus which can disrupt breathing or heartbeat [...]"That's from wikipedia, with this as the reference:
Hubbs, Ken; Klinger, David (October 2004). "Impact Munitions Use: Types, Targets, Effects" (PDF). National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 25 March 2011.It appears that the bears are my bears. "The California legislature has declared wildlife the property of the people."My bears are not meant to be harassed:"Harassment of Animals. 14 CCR § 251.1 Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or nongame bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal's normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or
mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops."and "This section further states that harassment is illegal except in cases where a landowner or tenant drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops (with the exception of protected species where a permit is necessary for harassment)."People can drive bears, which are classified as game, off their property for certain reasons, but 3rd parties may not.However, law enforcement personnel can "take" bears if the bears are: "damaging or destroying, or immediately threatening to damage or destroy, land or property," and if the would-be taker has a permit.I don't think this applies to cops firing bean bags at bears. "Take" means hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill. I don't think driving bear away with projectiles fits any of those. Taking is meant as a solution to a perceived problem, not just a short-term abatement.Elsewhere it says, "Bear: May be taken by permit only." (But, again, shooting beanbags at isn't taking.)I conclude that the po-po must stop shoot beanbags at bears.Do you agree that it is illegal for police offices to shoot beanbags at bears?What government agencies should be notified about this ongoing illegal activity in a California city?
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  California Lawyer replied 15 days ago.


I will try and help, but you won't like this answer. Please don't shoot the messenger.

The bears are not your bears and the police may deal with them as they see fit. The bears belong to the people of the state of California, not you personally as a member of that people.

You cannot prevent this activity and lack standing to do so.

I hope this helps.


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