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First Person

The man who gave the order to knock down the Brookline bear

Major Wilton F. Gray III, the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s inland bureau chief, explains why a dart used to immobilize was the best option for the bear spotted in Brookline in June.

There was no option that would have ended well for the bear. It was at that time we made the determination to immobilize him. He happened to be contained in a tree, in a walled yard of a residence in Brookline, a spot conducive to immobilization.

Our animal response teams have a protocol to follow. No. 1 is crowd control. No. 2 is we try to get the animal to move. No. 3 is immobilization. No. 4 would be to euthanize the animal. That’s only a last resort, when there’s a threat to public safety. From 2009 to June 30, 2012, we had 1,134 calls for bears, and 15 were immobilized. Of those 15, none were euthanized.

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