New Mexico legislation would spare some bears that attack

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico lawmakers may scrap and rewrite regulations that currently mandate the euthanizing of bears and other wild animals that attack a human so that animals can be tested for rabies.

A bill has been pre-filed as the Legislature convenes Tuesday that would give health and wildlife officials the ability to consider the current risk of rabies and also whether the animal acted in self-defense.

Los Alamos resident Karen Williams says she helped develop the legislation after being attacked in northern New Mexico by a mother bear that she believes was acting in defense of her two young cubs. The bear was captured and destroyed, and the cubs were eventually re-released in the wild.

The proposed legislation follows rabies assessments from the federal Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.