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Bear activist tells her side of story

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Ann Bryant had a long day.

She was resting in her bathtub, listening to Van Morrison and about to read a Fish and Game magazine, when she got the call.

A neighbor of a house three blocks away from Bryant reported a 400-pound black bear inside a residence. A few minutes later, Bryant, founder of the Bear Preservation League, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer and carrying a loaded firearm in public.



“I just tapped him on the shoulder to let him know, ‘Hey, it’s me,’ and he took it as a punch,” Bryant said.

Bryant, 50, had just spent time capturing an orphan bear for rehabilitation at Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort the day before. She didn’t get any sleep that night while she cared for the cub that wouldn’t cease crying in her garage.



The phone rang around 10 p.m. on July 24 and it only took a couple of minutes for Bryant to get her shotgun, loaded with rubber pellets, and drive to the house on Sacramento Avenue.

A cantaloupe was left on the porch, a window was open and the residents had just left for pizza. The bear couldn’t resist.

“It was like an open house for a bear buffet,” Bryant said.

According to Bryant, after she pulled up in her Toyota Landcruiser and started walking toward the bear, a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy, who was unrecognizable to her, got out of his patrol truck and started screaming at her.

She walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder, offering help, Bryant said.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. Of course I was very concerned about the bear and now I was helpless of what I needed to do. He didn’t like it and that’s why he grabbed me, threw me against the car and whipped out the handcuffs. Obviously he wasn’t happy.”

On the way to Nevada County Jail, Bryant said she and the officer exchanged friendly banter.

“He said, ‘I wish I’d known it was you, we probably could have worked together on this,'” she said. “He was very nice.”

Inside the jail facility, Bryant got her own cell, frequent use of the phone and used a special bathroom which is “not the yucky one people with vicious crimes use.”

Bryant was being held on $7,500 bail for the two misdemeanors. She was released eight hours after her arrest on a promise to appear in court.

Roger Peirochi, Bryant’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.

The Landcruiser was impounded and had to be bailed out, Bryant said.

“They took my gun, too,” she said.

In March 2000, Bryant was detained by the Department of Fish and Game. She said she was rescuing a starving bear cub at Squaw Valley. Fish and Game said she was poaching. The case was later dismissed in January 2001.

In September 2000, Bryant was accused of trespassing after she broke into a Rubicon home to remove a rogue bear. Charges were dropped in that case in April 2001.

Bryant is scheduled for an arraignment at Tahoe City on Sept. 3 at 8:30 a.m.

— Contact William Ferchland at (530) 542-8014 or wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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