Team of black bears guarded grow-op, police say
Bethany Lindsay, ctvbc.ca
Published Wednesday, August 18, 2010 3:26PM PDT
An alleged marijuana grow-op in B.C.'s Kootenays turned out to be a real-life Animal Farm, complete with a security detail of 10 black bears, according to police.
Mounties dismantling an outdoor operation near Christina Lake were surprised to find six large bears hanging out near one plot of marijuana and another four animals near the second.
"The officers were a little nervous to say the least, and cautiously went about making the seizure," RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said in a press release.
"It became quite evident that the bears were habituated to humans and were very docile, sitting around unconcerned with the officers' presence."
The bears weren't the only animal inhabitants of the farm, though.
"When a search of the house was conducted our officers came upon a pig roaming around the house and disrupted a raccoon from his afternoon nap in one of the bedrooms. The pig was a little frantic at the sight of police, but the raccoon was pretty laidback about the bust and took it all in stride," Moskaluk said.
Police say that conservation officers are now determining what to do about the bears, and euthanasia is a possibility.
"These 10 bears could very well face a not-so-happy outcome if they are deemed too habituated, because of the property owner, who either simply liked having the bears around, or was in fact using them to protect the grow-op," Moskaluk said.
Officers believe that the bears were being fed dog food. Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, anyone caught intentionally feeding dangerous wildlife could be subject to as much as a year in prison or a fine as high as $100,000 on the first conviction.
Police found a total of 2,300 marijuana plants during their search of the farm, and are recommending charges of production and possession of a controlled substance against two adults in their 40s from the Christina Lake area.