An Idaho man who shot and killed a grizzly bear that wandered on to his 20-acre property has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing a protected species. Jeremy Hill's supporters say he was only protecting his family after the 2-year-old cub, accompanied by its mother and another cub, entered his yard while his children were playing outside, AP reports. Hill, whose property lies between two federal grizzly bear recovery zones, notified Idaho wildlife officials after shooting the bear. He faces up to a year in prison if found guilty.
The case has inflamed passions in the state, and Butch Otter, Idaho's Republican governor, is among Hill's many supporters. "I strongly support the right of individuals to defend themselves and others in such situations," Otter wrote in a letter to the Obama administration. "Although an individual can protect human safety under the law—as Jeremy felt he was doing—it's a shame that the Endangered Species Act still does not enable citizens to protect their private property and pets in the same manner."