Neighbors in the Village of Cobbly Nob in Sevier County were outraged earlier this month when a mama bear was found shot and killed. But, after both wildlife officials and the district attorney's office looked into the matter, it appears no charges will be filed.
The man accused in the shooting later told 10News that he let his dogs out of his cabin and then heard a strange noise. He grabbed his gun to investigate and was charged by the bear. He said he shot the mama bear in the leg, and she ran down a hill. The man told 10News he believed the bear survived.
Neighbors were telling a different story, however, and pushed law enforcement to investigate, saying they believed the bear should never have been shot, especially in their community.
The district attorney's office considered possible violations of three laws when making the decision, according to a release from the Fourth Judicial District.
First, officials said they could not charge the shooter with animal cruelty because the statute in Tennessee only applies to domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats and some types of livestock.
Second, the DAG's office considered a charge for hunting out of season or poaching, but officials concluded that the shooter's actions were not consistent with "hunting" under the state statute.
Finally, officials looked at a charge of unlawful killing of an animal. But, officials said that a section of that law allows for the killing of an animal, including a bear, that is threatening to either a human or domesticated animal.