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Mother Helped Son Over Bear Fence, City Says

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She and her 4-year-old boy cleared the 4-foot barrier, the mother told Dr. Janice Carson, director of the city's department of public health, to get closer to one of bears sitting next to the chain-link fence encircling the bears' habitat, the report stated. There are two fences — the 4-foot barrier surrounds another chain-link fence that contained the bears.

"She stated that she 'put herself and the boy over the first fence,'" the report said. When she looked away, she told Carson, the boy reached his hand through the chain-link fence to pet the bear and was bitten, the report stated. The mother later told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the child had climbed the fence when she wasn't looking.

A well-placed source at City Hall, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says the woman also told a city official that she helped her son clear the fence so he could "feed the bear." That detail, however, wasn't included in the March 3 report. Michael Morchower, the unnamed mother's attorney, didn't return phone calls from Style by press time. Morchower told the Times-Dispatch that city officials are "engaging in the blame game" and criticized the mayor for targeting his client.

In the March 3 report, the city cites a "third or fourth hand" account from a game department employee, who said the mother told medical staff at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital she had taken her son to feed the bears on many occasions. The mother has publicly denied those reports and isn't cooperating with the city's investigation. S

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