TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A City College of New York professor is going to jail for protesting New Jersey’s bear hunt, which is nearing an end.
A judge on Thursday ordered psychology professor Bill Crain, 72, of Dutchess County, New York, to spend 10 days in the Sussex County Jail beginning Jan. 6, when the school is in winter recess.
Crain admitted he refused to return to an area set up for protesters when he walked along a road near a weigh station in Fredon, where hunters were bringing their bears in October. It was his seventh arrest.
“Bears, like humans, have families, emotions and individual personalities. Like us, each bear wants to live,” Crain told Municipal Court Judge James Devine. “These defenseless animals need our help.”
The judge said Crain has comported himself with dignity and nonviolence.
Attorney Daniel Perez expects Crain will serve only seven days, but he still believes the sentence is excessive.
“He didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t threaten anyone. He didn’t damage any property. He went out into a street and refused to return to a demonstration area,” Perez told WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported. “He is a peaceful man and if he had been doing it perhaps in a different location and if the message was different, I don’t think that he would have been sentenced to 10 days in jails.”
As of Thursday, hunters killed a record 623 bears. The previous record was 592 bears killed in 2010.
The hunt is scheduled to last through Saturday, but officials say it will be suspended once the cumulative harvest rate of tagged bears reaches 30 percent. The season total is nearly 25 percent.
Animal rights’ groups and lawmakers say the hunt causes more problems and is “inhumane.”
Opponents are rallying behind the apparent death of Pedals, a bipedal bear and internet celebrity believed to be killed in October’s hunt.
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