Frustrated after unsuccessful attempts to trap a bear that had been tearing up Sea Mountain GC in Sitka, Alaska, state troopers say Kevin Taranoff now faces a misdemeanor charge, after he put food laced with antifreeze outside the club’s restaurant, without the knowledge or permission of course management or wildlife authorities. A local pet hospital alerted the troopers after two dogs died from kidney failure.
A groundskeeper at the nine-hole Sea Mountain Golf Course in Sitka, Alaska has been charged with trying to poison a brown bear that had been tearing up the course, reported the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News.
Kevin Taranoff, 31, of Sitka, was issued a summons on October 23 to appear in District Court in Sitka, the Daily News reported, on a misdemeanor charge of attempting to take brown bear by use of poison, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
The Troopers had received a report on October 15 that two dogs had died from antifreeze poisoning, and the next day they received a report that Taranoff had placed food laced with antifreeze near the restaurant at Sea Mountain, according an account posted online by State Wildlife Trooper Jake Abbott.
Taranoff set out the poisoned food without the permission or knowledge of any others involved with the golf course’s management, Megan Peters, a spokeswoman for the State Troopers, told the Daily News.
The Daily News reported that Taranoff had been working with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to rid the course of the bear, according to Phil Mooney, the agency’s Sitka-area biologist.
The bear, about four years old, had ripped up ball cups, broken hole flags and rummaged through trash on the property in the past, said Mooney, who also reported that he had unsuccessfully set up traps on the property a few weeks before the reports of the dogs’ deaths.
“He became frustrated and put out poison,” Mooney said of Taranoff.
The Troopers’ report said that according to Victoria Vosburg, owner of Pet’s Choice Veterinary Hospital, owners of a 3-year-old German shepherd and 1-year-old black Labrador retriever brought in their dogs independent of each other on October 15, because both dogs were vomiting, the Daily News reported.
The antifreeze shut down both dogs’ kidneys less than a day after they ate the poisoned food, reported Vosburg, who noted that a few licks of antifreeze can kill a small dog.
Mooney said he wasn’t sure if the same amount of antifreeze would have killed the bear, the Daily News reported, because a bear’s digestion is so inefficient that it may not have absorbed the poison.
Sitka normally has five to 20 brown bears during summer, Mooney told the Daily News. The bears like to spend time near the elevated berry patch in the middle of the Sea Mountain golf course, which was particularly rich with berries this summer, he noted. He warned that there was still one bear spending time near the golf course, and about three more around town.