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Gravier and the three bears…

… plus about a dozen or so! :-)

Lynne Gravier, 77, aka “Bear Woman,” pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of feeding big game mammals (You didn’t know that was against the law in California, did you? We have laws for EVERYTHING! :-) ) and prosecutors agreed to drop all charges in three years if Gravier stops feeding bears for three years. Gravier was charged with transforming her cabin in Laytonville, in remote Mendocino County, to what the San Francisco Chronicle called a “bear bohemia with wading pools and specially prepared banquets of corn meal and peanut butter sandwiches.”

When seven Fish and Game wardens raided Gravier’s home on August 24, 2010, they “stumbled on what was essentially an animal hippie commune and shack out pad.” The house was piled high in filth and was immediately condemned.

“In all 15 loafing black bears hung out with Gravier inside the house and on her deck, and lumbered around the compound like kings at a feast. Gravier named her oafish friends things like Smiley, Goofy, Connie, Biggie and Wombat. She admitted setting up a kiddie pool for wallowing. She fixed peanut butter sandwiches for her guests, sometimes mixing in glucosamine to ease the arthritis pain in older bears.”

Gravier also fed 18 cats, three dogs, 40 peacocks, and visiting turkeys and deer. For the bears, she had around 6,000 pounds of rolled and cracked corn delivered each month, which she stored in a 40-foot shipping container.

Troublesome bears are a major issue in the cattle-raising and pot-growing :-) town of Laytonville, near South Fork of the Eel River and with a population of 1,300. The Chronicle describes it as a place “… where hunting is popular, apparently even out of season.” Gravier has reported that locals have illegally killed bears and even pet dogs and that the activity has gone unreported because local marijuana growers fear that their crops would be discovered!

The prosecution of Gravier caused protests in front of the courthouse, with demonstrators accusing prosecutors of harrassing a kind animal lover. Mike Geniella, who is a spokesperson for the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office, said in a brief, written statement that the current District Attorney David Eyster did not initiate the case against Gravier, but that it was initially pursued by FORMER District Attorney Meredith Lintott. :-)

Gravier has taken photographs of dead bears with their paws and gall bladders missing. She said that the poaching made her feel like she had to protect the bears.

-Bill at

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