Owner fined $1,000 after her dog chased a grizzly bear in Revelstoke National Park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Owner fined $1,000 after her dog chased a grizzly bear in Revelstoke National Park

Grizzly bear #49. The bear involved in the chase.
Image Credit: Park's Canada
February 07, 2020 - 8:00 AM

A dog owner has been fined $1,000 after her dog chased a grizzly bear in Revelstoke National Park.

While Crown prosecutors had asked for a $500 fine and a one year ban, the judge dismissed the ban but instead increased the fine to $1,000.

Crystal Angela Gauer was charged with two counts under the Canada National Parks Act, for the incident that took place last August at Eva Lake backcountry campground in Mount Revelstoke National Park.

Parks Canada spokesperson Shelley Bird told iNFOnews.ca the two charges related to Gauer's dogs being off-leash and for the dog harassing wildlife.

Gauer pleaded guilty to one of the charges, while the other stayed by the Crown at the Revelstoke Provincial Court, Feb. 5.

"The dog chased the bear and then the bear turned around and chased the dogs back to the owners," Bird said. Luckily the bear - known to Park's staff as Grizzly bear #49 - then moved on without interfering with the dogs or the owner.

Bird said the bear kept moving at a fast pace for 12 hours following the incident.

"At a time of year when grizzlies need to eat in order to survive the winter, it's not a good time of year for them to be having that kind of response," she said.

Bird said two grizzly bears live in the Eva Lake area and following an incident in 2018 where a dog chased the same bear, a GPS tracker collar was fitted to the grizzly. This allowed park staff to see how the bear reacted after the chase.

Following the 2018 incident, a moratorium was then placed on dogs entering the summit area of the national park. The moratorium was lifted for the 2019 season and again put in place following the incident last August. Bird said it has yet to be decided whether the moratorium on dogs will stay in place for the summer of 2020.

The spokesperson said while Park's Canada works hard to prevent offences from happening through education, outreach and prevention strategies, in some cases when people break the law stronger action is taken, which is reflected in this case.

While Gauer was fined $1,000 for the offence, under the Canada National Parks Act Domestic Animal Regulations the maximum fine is $25,000. Gauer has until Sept. 1 to pay the fine.

— This story was corrected at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 to say the moratorium placed on dogs was for the summit area of Mount Revelstoke National Park. Dogs are still allowed on leash in other parts of the park.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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