New Jersey woman sentenced to jail for helping crying bear cub escape trap

New Jersey woman sentenced to jail for helping crying bear cub escape trap
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A New Jersey woman was reportedly sentenced to 15 days in jail for helping a crying bear cub escape a trap.

Catherine McCartney, a 50-year-old animal rights activist from Vernon, N.J., was handed the sentence on Thursday by Municipal Court Judge James Devine, NJ.com reported

McCartney, who is already seeking to appeal the sentence imposed by Devine, reportedly said she does not regret her actions in a statement she read in court.

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“These animals are innocent and so I made the moral decision to let the bear go so he could run back to his mother, and it was the right thing to do,” McCartney reportedly said in the statement.

The sentence stems from an October incident in which the animal rights activist helped free a bear cub that was caught in a trap at a condominium complex in Vernon.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the department had installed two culvert traps inside the residential area to capture a bear, which activists have dubbed “Momma Bear,” that had been involved in two separate incidents with residents, neither of which resulted in injury. 

McCartney, who reportedly has a history of being arrested at bear hunt protests, pleaded guilty to obstructing the administration of law and the prevention of the lawful taking of wildlife.

Mark Nagelhout, another defendant in the court on Tuesday that reportedly assisted McCartney in the bear’s escape, also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

However, Nagelhout was reportedly not sentenced to jail for the crime since it had been his first offense. 

McCartney and Nagelhout were also reportedly fined a total of $1,316 each.