Spray A Captive Bear, Go To Jail

Jackson Hole judge sentences guide to two days in jail, a fine, and community service for pepper-spraying a captive black bear

Animal lovers, get ready for your blood to boil: Back in October, 27-year-old Jackson Hole hunting, fishing, and float trip guide Tyler Steele emptied a can of pepper spray on a 177-lb. male black bear caught in a culvert trap. Grand Teton NP officials placed the trap to capture the bear after it had been investigating nearby cabins and a lodge.

But his crime didn't go unpunished: Federal Magistrate Jim Lubing accepted Steele’s guilty plea to animal cruelty and sentenced him to two days in jail, two years of unsupervised probation, 40 hours of animal-related community service and a $750 fine, and $250 in restitution to the Grand Teton National Park Wildlife Fund. 

He'll also get a substance abuse evaluation, since his best excuse was "I was under the influence of alcohol." To be fair, he expressed regret: "I think it was a cruel thing to do, your honor. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I let a lot of people down.”

Unfortunately, park service managers decided the habituated bear was too much of a danger to humans, and it had to be put down.

Consider yourself lucky to be spending only two days in jail, Mr. Steele: I know a certain bear who wouldn't have let you off so easily.

—Ted Alvarez

via JHNews and Guide