Hank the Tank is Innocent!

Hank the Tank, a 500-pound black bear who lives in South Lake Tahoe, California, is a wanted individual. Residents of this idyllic ski town have reportedly called the police about Hank more than 150 times, and he’s been caught in the act of property damage at least 28 times in the pursuit of human food. According to the New York Times, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is edging towards euthanasia as the solution for Hank’s disruptive presence, while bear advocates frantically try to arrange a spot for him at a wildlife sanctuary…

Hank has become a national media story, because of his sheer bigness, but coverage that describes him as nothing but a destructive and dangerous force misses the mark. He doesn’t know about laws, and, as a bear, there’s no way he’ll ever find out about them! He is, above all else, innocent. Hank deserves protection from state violence…

Having a bear inside your house is scary and dangerous— I don’t want to minimize that—but even the South Lake Tahoe residents who are most threatened by the prospect of hulking, furry home invaders don’t want Hank dead. Ann Bryant, president of a local black bear advocacy organization called the BEAR League, told CBS13 Sacramento that people in the community “do not want the bear to pay the price for human ignorance,” adding that “when a bear is set to die in their community, people take a stand.” In an interview with a blog called AnimalRightsChannel, Bryant said that, pre-COVID, South Lake Tahoe residents had happily adapted to the presence of bears in their community and that pushback against Hank’s presence was driven by newcomers. “[The bears] go swimming at the beach with us,” she said. “They have names.”…

To borrow a legal argument, a bear who’s broken into 28 houses is a bear that’s been near people 28 times without hurting anybody. Give everyone a way to secure their garbage cans and leave Hank the Tank alone.

UPDATE: The hunt for Hank has officially been called off, thanks to—I swear to God—DNA evidence that proved three different bears were responsible for the property destruction previously blamed on Hank alone. Wild!

No foul, No harm. No penalty!

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