Bear cub taken from Madison County home

Bear cub taken from Madison County home
By: CJ Cassidy

Most of us would agree just about all animals are pretty cute when they're young. Conservation agents say admiring them from afar is fine, but the problem starts when people try adopting them as pets.

Take for instance the latest case, involving a bear cub. They tracked her down at a home in Madison County.

Agents tell me the owner bought the bear at a wildlife auction in Fruitland, but didn't bother getting a permit.

So now the owner faces charges, and someone else is stuck with the task of finding the cub a new home.

"Even though the little girl's just three months old, and she only weighs 25 pounds, you can tell she's pretty feisty," Steven Moore with the Missouri Department of Conservation says.

One look at the playful cub, and you can understand why someone would want to take it home as a pet.

"People get them as pets because they're a novelty," Moore says.

But, conservation agents say "bear" in mind the consequences.

"You can only imagine what it'll be like to take care of when she's 250 pounds," Moore says. He adds, "conservation agents faced with animals, who become adults people say they don't know what to do with them now."

"The Conservation Department has very strict regulations on if this animal can be kept in captivity, and how they can be kept," Moore explains.

The responsibility of caring for the cub now falls on Carolyn Watkins shoulders. She runs a wildlife rehabilitation center in Bollinger County.

"it makes me very angry. Some people out of innocence want to help, others do it to have a trophy animal, to take care of. That's very wrong. There should be laws against having wild animals as pets," Watkins says.

Our cameras were there to capture the 25 pound ball of fur, move into her new home.

She seemed enthusiastic enough, but we couldn't say the same for her neighbors, a family of wide eyed owls who hissed. We think in disbelief.

"He'll probably end up in a zoo. We'll try a zoo first," Watkins says.

Watkins expects to keep the cub for at least two years until she's ready to be taken to a new home.

Agents believe the bear was born and raised in captivity so she can't be returned to the wild.

If you plan on adopting any kind of wild animal, first check with the Department of Conservation.