Woman Incarcerated for Endangering Her Life in Yellowstone National Park

Woman Incarcerated for Endangering Her Life in Yellowstone National Park

(ReliableNews.org) – Although laws may sometimes seem arbitrary, most of them are in place for good reason. Curiously enough, lawmakers enact certain statutes to protect some people from themselves, and they carry penalties if ignored. An Illinois woman recently learned that lesson the hard way.

On October 7, acting United States Attorney Robert Murray announced Samantha Dehring pleaded guilty to a federal charge for her decision to endanger her own life to photograph a wild animal within 100 yards.

Dehring was visiting Yellowstone National Park on May 10 when she noticed a female grizzly bear and her three cubs. Other visitors backed off and returned to their vehicles, as mandated by federal regulations. However, Dehring remained and shot photographs of the then-enraged grizzly as she charged the aspiring photographer.

As Murray explained, a national park isn’t like a zoo where people can casually observe animals behind the safety of a fenced enclosure. “Approaching a [female] grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish,” he continued.

US Magistrate Judge Mark Carman banned Dehring from Yellowstone for a year and sentenced her to four days in jail, including a year of unsupervised probation. Carman also ordered her to pay a $1,000 fine, an additional $1,000 to Yellowstone’s Wildlife Protection Fund, court costs, and associated fees.

As Murray noted, it was only by “pure luck” that Dehring ended up a criminal defendant and not a mauling victim. Hopefully, this situation serves as a warning to others who might tempt fate to flirt with danger.

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