An 81-year-old Sussex County woman was sent to the hospital after a bear attacked her and killed her dog on Jan. 3, and District 24 lawmakers say Gov. Phil Murphy bears some of the blame.
State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-24) was joined by Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24) and Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-24) as they doubled down on prior messaging that Murphy was ignoring science in favor of politics in regards to the bear hunt.
“How many more times will the Murphy Administration allow this to happen before they finally leave wildlife management to the professionals?” asked Oroho.
Attack Kills Dog
“The experts should be determining a sound bear management policy for New Jersey. Instead, the Administration has settled on a politically motivated policy that is dangerous and irresponsible.”
A published report indicated the Sparta woman placed her garbage out for Tuesday delivery, and when she let her dogs out, two bears had already torn open the garbage bags.
The dogs charged the the bears, and while the larger one ran into the woods, the other bear swatted one of the dogs. The woman then ran towards the bear, which bit and scratched her. After the altercation, the bear dragged one dog into the woods with the other dog chased in pursuit.
“As serious as it was, this could have been much worse,” said Space. “Things went bad in a hurry, and that is exactly what can happen when there are too many bears in the wild and they encroach on residential areas in search of food.”
“Without a safe hunt to control the bear population, we’re going to continue to see more cases of people being hurt or killed. This stubbornness is putting lives at risk and there is no excuse for it. Governor Murphy needs to follow the science and allow for a bear hunt,” added Wirths.
Restart Bear Hunt
Gov. Murphy announced in October 2020 that it would be the last bear hunt under his administration, and although the New Jersey Fish and Game Council approved an emergency black bear hunt in September, the Murphy Administration blocked it.
At the time, Oroho argued Gov. Murphy was preaching “science” during the coronavirus pandemic but ignoring it when it came to the black bear hunt.
“There are too many bears for the environment to support, so they wander out of the woods and into neighborhoods in search of food and shelter. There is nothing humane about bears starving in the wild. It is a recipe for disaster that can be mitigated with responsible hunting controls,” said Wirths in July 2021.