Threats, vandalism after bears shot at Tahoe
TAHOE CITY – Russell and Diane Tonda had just finished cleaning the damage caused to their home by a family of bears when they were hit by more damage – this time caused by humans.
The family’s use of a depredation permit to kill the three bears Feb. 4 sparked hundreds of angry calls to the Tahoe-area BEAR League, and the killings might also have led to the vandalism, which Diana Tonda estimated at $2,300 in damages.
Windows were smashed, fan blades broken, lighting fixtures torn from the walls, wine bottles broken over the kitchen counter and the cabinets that weren’t ruined by the bears were destroyed. The wires and gas lines cut on their snowblower confirmed that the damage wasn’t done by bears.
The vandalism was discovered on Feb. 26 by a housekeeper, and the Tondas reported the crime to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office last week. There are currently no suspects in the case, according to sheriff’s deputies. However, deputies did tell the Tondas they would patrol the area more regularly.
Ann Bryant, executive director of the animal-advocacy BEAR League, said that after the Feb. 4 shootings of the mother bear and her two cubs she received hundreds of irate calls. Some of them threatened to do harm to the Tondas and their property.
“I told those people who threatened violence: ‘Don’t you do it. It’s illegal and it’s a nasty thing to do. And besides I’ll get blamed,'” Bryant said.
She called the Tondas at their home in Granite Bay to warn them of the threats and suggested they hire a security company to patrol their home at night.
After hearing of the vandalism last week through Placer County District Attorney Chris Cattran, who is looking into the possibility of filing legal charges against the Tondas and the hunters they hired, Bryant said she was appalled and had no idea who committed the crimes.
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