After La Crescenta’s enchanting visit from a bear this past summer, we took the time to christen him “Meatball” after his favorite dish, which he scavenged prior to splashing in someone’s pool to cool off. He was captured and moved to temporary housing while his future was being decided.

The community of La Crescenta and surrounding areas established a fund to collect money for a natural habitat, medical attention and food. All of this is great except they also want to neuter him. This seems like an unnecessary, even criminal act. We would be interrupting the continuity of this species. We do neuter our pets, but Meatball is not considered a pet.

Since Colorado doesn’t appreciate his presence, we in California have so much square footage of forests and mountains where Meatball could be released free and live free in his own environment. Isn’t this what we do with whales, dolphins, pelicans, bald eagles, condors and seals, without neutering them? Pandas are never neutered because we are trying to save them from extinction. Why is it preferable to neuter Meatball and hold him captive instead of leaving him intact and setting him free? There have been plenty of bear sightings in several cities. Who knows? Maybe Meatball could one day meet his Cinderella and live happily ever after.

Let’s not begin the extermination of this species that captures our children’s imaginations and populates their fairy tales. Let’s also not forget that almost every one of us slept cuddled up to our teddy bears at night. Let’s show Meatball some respect. No neutering!

Rafael Aberasturi
La Crescenta