Julie Strauja shot a bear in her kitchen and now has people hissing at her on the street and making death threats on social media.
Julie is a young mother of three children - ages 5, 6, and 9 - who recently moved to the small town of Forest Falls, California. She has now become public enemy number one in this little enclave for protecting her family from a 400-pound black bear.
The problems began when the bear broke into her garage to get into her garbage. So she moved the moved the garbage inside the house. When the bear showed up again, she maced it and had a local deputy shoot it with a bean bag to run it off.
Undeterred, the bear showed up again, this time inside her house, in her kitchen where it attacked the family dog. Desperate, she went to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and got what’s called a depredation permit, which allowed her to shoot the animal if it posed a threat to her family’s safety.
So the next time the bear showed up, she had a friend shoot it dead.
The response from the community was instantaneous. She told the San Bernardino Sun, “There kind of was a mob mentality. People walking by my house yelling ‘bear killer’ and obscenities.”
One local used a Facebook post to make this offer: “Contact me if you want to legally make their life a living hell.” Her home address has been repeatedly posted on social media.
Here’s the text of a Tweet: “UNACCEPTABLE!!!!! The bear died for being a bear! Stupid woman! SHE should be shot!”
One local called the bear “Big Red” and blamed the woman for not “reach(ing) out to the community” for tips on how to “keep the bears safe.” Well, how about some tips on keeping CHILDREN safe? Said this local, “When in doubt, ask your neighbors.” A lot of good that’ll do when the bear is in your kitchen chewing on the family dog. When seconds count, neighbors are only minutes away.
Fortunately, Ms. Strauja has received some understanding from California Fish and Wildlife, who acknowledged that she may really have had no choice since the bear had been inside the house more than once.
A bear specialist observed that bears are a particular problem in populated areas because they have such a strong sense of smell they can smell food inside people’s homes. Where is a 400-pound bear gonna eat? Pretty much anywhere it wants to.
Even the politically correct U.S. Forest Service observes that black bears “are capable of injuring or killing people,” and may turn into a “‘problem animal’ (that) will have to be dealt with aggressively; sometimes as the expense of its life.”
The nation was recently transfixed by the shooting of Harambe the 400-pound ape who was swinging a 4-year-old boy around like a rag doll at the Cincinnati Zoo.
From a biblical standpoint, killing animals to protect human life is perfectly justified. Men are created in the image of God; animals are not. God has given to man “dominion...over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). If the choice comes down to human life or animal life, the morally correct choice is clear.
It’s also biblically appropriate for man to protect even animals from predators. Here’s what David said to Saul when he was trying to convince him to let him have a crack (pun intended) at Goliath:
“And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears.” ~ 1 Samuel 17:34-36
Bottom line: if it’s okay to kill a lion in a pit on a snowy day, it’s okay to shoot a bear in your kitchen.