What appears at this time as a story not containing enough information to know exactly what’s going on, it seems John Tanksley, who lives near Bakersville, Ohio, shot and killed a black bear the other night while defending his dog, himself and his girlfriend. Tanksley says, in a report from the Columbus Dispatch, that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources hasn’t told the press all the story.
Reached at his home this afternoon, Tanksley said ODNR officers are not telling the whole story. He said he was never able to get his dog away from the animal and that the dog chased the bear away twice, once as far as 100 yards, and both times the bear followed the dog back to his house.
Most newspaper accounts state that Tanksley or his girlfriend heard their dog barking shortly after they let it out around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, July 23. Reports say Tanksley was able to run the bear off and retrieve his dog. It has been reported that he later shot the bear.
In Tanksley’s report to the Dispatch, he says the dog chased the bear away from the house twice only to have the bear return. On the second return, the bear charged.
Tanksley said he shot the bear only after it returned the second time because the animal charged him and his girlfriend as they stood on the porch trying to get their dog back in the house.
He said the bear came at him at a bouncing run and stopped only seven yards away, which was when he made what he called a split-second, life-or-death decision to shoot.
In Ohio, the black bear is protected as an endangered animal, which means Tanksley could face charges for killing the bear. Protection is not granted an endangered animal that is threatening human life.
At this time, we can only assume that the ODNR is conducting an investigation before bringing any charges against Tanksley.