Idaho Man Faces Jail for Killing Grizzly Threatening Kids

Friday, 26 Aug 2011 07:43 AM

By Martin Gould

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Neighbors, friends, and politicians are coming to the aid of Jeremy Hill, an Idaho father who faces jail time for shooting a grizzly bear that wandered into his yard and threatened his children.

Hill has been charged with killing a protected species. The judge in his case had to move the case to a larger room because too many supporters turned up when he appeared in federal court on Tuesday.

Five of Hill’s six kids were at home when a mother grizzly and two cubs came into the yard after some pigs that the children had been raising. Hill said he felt the bears posed a threat and he shot, killing one. The others ran off.

After the May 8 incident, Hill, who lives on a 20-acre property close to the Canadian border, called authorities to notify them — and that’s when his troubles started.

“He could have just buried it and said nothing,” his father, Mike, told the Couer D’Alene Press.

Republican Idaho state Sen. Shawn Keough was among those who turned up in Couer D’Alene Federal Court to support Hill. “The charges are simply unjust,” she said. "Hopefully common sense will prevail. It's clearly an issue of protecting the family."

So far $20,000 has been raised for a legal defense fund for Hill, who faces up to a year in jail and a fine of $50,000 when he next appears in court on Oct. 4.

Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, who represents the area in Washington, said, “We're doing everything we can to make sure this man is treated fairly. Clearly, we have a problem with the Endangered Species Act when situations like this happen.”

Even the commissioners in Idaho’s Boundary County are supporting him. They issued a statement saying that he "not only had the right, but the obligation to protect his children and his family."

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