British Columbia

B.C. man fined $6,000 for feeding 'pot bears'

A B.C. man has been fined $6,000, but won't face jail time, for feeding dozens of black bears that RCMP alleged he was using to guard a marijuana grow operation.
Allan Piche feeds two bears a bucket load of dog food on his rural property in this video posted on Vimeo.

A B.C. man has been fined $6,000, but won't face jail time, for feeding dozens of black bears that RCMP alleged he was using to guard a marijuana grow operation.

Allan Piche, 66, of Christina Lake, made headlines around the world in August 2010 when police levelled the allegations against him.

Piche has denied those allegations, but he freely admitted to feeding the bears $200 worth of dog food a week for more than a decade at his rural property in the Kootenay region of southeastern B.C. 

He was fined Thursday by Judge Ronald Fabbro at a sentencing hearing in Grand Forks, B.C.,

Piche kept the more than two dozen black bears almost like pets, giving many of them names and at times, allowing them inside his remote mountainside home.

Judge says feeding bears was 'foolish'

Conservation officers charged Piche with feeding dangerous wildlife in November 2010.

They said the bears were a danger to Piche, as well as the people of Christina Lake, and pushed for him to serve jail time.

Allan Piche, 66, outside the Grand Forks, B.C., courthouse on Thursday after being fined $6,000 for feeding dozens of black bears near his home in Christina Lake. (Bob Keating/CBC)

At Thursday's hearing, Fabbro called Piche's actions "foolish" and "a flight of fancy."

Fabbro said there was no doubt Piche's actions were harmful to the bears and potentially people, but didn't think jail time was necessary, instead opting for a $6,000 fine.

Outside the courthouse Thursday morning, Piche said he thinks the sentence is fair.

"I feel relieved that it's finally done, and I feel it was a just settlement considering the impression the court has to give, to deter people from doing this sort of thing."

Piche still faces charges for allegedly producing and possessing marijuana.

With files from the CBC's Bob Keating