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The BEAR group and NJARA have long histories of harassing victims of bear attacks. This is typical.

Andover animal's owner reports critical phone calls to cops

By Matt Manochio, Daily Record

ANDOVER TWP. - A woman whose miniature horse was killed and partially eaten by a black bear last week said Monday that she's getting critical phone calls from the bruin's sympathizers.

Judy Burns, 43, told police Sunday that she received four or five anonymous phone calls criticizing her for wanting state officials to kill the bear that killed her 31-inch-tall horse, Phantom.

"I'm totally aggravated that people would turn around and make me the bad guy," Burns said during an interview at her Stickles Pond Road farm.

"'Bears need to eat, too,'" she recounted one of the callers saying, along with, "'How do you know it's going to be the bear that killed your horse?'"

She said she was also labeled a "bear killer."

Burns said she's been a veterinary technician for 23 years and has helped rehabilitate wildlife. Some of the animals on her nine-acre farm are creatures she took in because they were sick or hurt.

Township police Detective Harry Kinney confirmed Burns' account.

"She did report that she was getting annoying phone calls," Kinney said, adding that the calls could be considered harassment if they were repeatedly made by the same person. He said the phone company now will be monitoring the calls she receives.

Burns said she's also recording the license plates of unfamiliar vehicles that stop near her farm.

"God forbid, if it can carry (250) pounds up a hill, it can carry off a kid," she said about the bear hauling away the miniature horse.

West Milford resident Lynda Smith, who heads the Bear Education and Resource Group, an organization that opposes bear hunts, said she doesn't condone the types of calls Burns received.

"Absolutely not, it's nothing we condone," Smith said. "It's nobody that I'm aware of."

Smith said she sympathizes with Burns because of her loss, but said there are no guarantees that any bear trapped at the farm would be the bear that made off with Phantom.

"There are probably several bears in the area. Setting a trap and killing the bear, you're not going to know if you got the right bear," Smith said.

"It's a fact of life when you live in close proximity to wildlife, stuff happens. We do our best to prevent them," Smith said about such incidents, noting that many farms use electrified fencing, as Burns did.

The incident unfolded Thursday morning when Burns noticed Phantom wasn't in his paddock, which is surrounded by a wooden fence as well as an outer, electrified fence. She walked up a steep, muddy hill to look for him and found his mauled body.

Bear tracks were found in the mud in the paddock and in the snow where the miniature horse's body was found.

"I didn't label it a category one bear, the state did," Burns said, referring to the state Department of Environmental Protection's classification of the bruin. Because the bear killed livestock state workers will kill it if it is caught.

State workers set a barrel-shaped culvert trap in hopes of catching the bear. Burns said the bruin has resisted the bacon and molasses that was put in the trap, so she will try adding doughnuts to the bait.

Burns said the bear believed to be the culprit returned late Thursday night. While standing on all fours it was at least four-and-a-half feet tall at the shoulder, she said.

When it walked to the barn where her horses are kept and stood on its rear legs to look inside, "I couldn't see the doorway," she said.

She called police but the bruin lumbered away before they arrived.

Burns and state workers wonder how the enormous bear eluded detection by the other animals when it went after Phantom.

Burns' house is a few hundred feet away from the barn and between the two buildings is a small pond inhabited by geese. The geese usually honk loudly when a strange animal or vehicle comes on the property but they didn't make a sound Thursday, she said. None of her four full-sized horses or two other mini-horses made a sound, nor did her dogs.

"If there's anything out of whack, the animals start yelling," she said.

Even more bizarre was the bear's ability to break Phantom's neck, haul his 250-pound body over the wooden fence without breaking any boards, underneath the electrified fence and 400 yards up a hill, all silently, she said.

The bear now has been to her property twice and she said it's important for her to see the animal trapped because it likely will be back again and she fears for her family and the other animals.

Misty, a pregnant mini-horse who's due in a month, was unharmed last week, but "If I would have found her ripped open and a baby laying there …" Burns said before trailing off.

Her husband was issued a depredation permit Friday, enabling him to shoot and kill the bear if it returns.

Until then all of Burns' horses, goats, sheep, chickens, peafowl, dogs and rabbits, are being locked away securely at night. Her three children - Valerie, 8, Danny, 9, and Kellie, 5, stay close by her side.

She said Danny was most hurt by Phantom's death because he planned to show the little horse during contests.

"He really took it the hardest," she said.


these SOBs would make these same phone calls if GOD forbid a person child or adult got injuried or killed. They have feelings for animales over people.
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