Va. woman facing charges after viral Tik Tok shows her feeding bear in Gatlinburg

Farris is required to return to Sevier Co. for booking.
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:56 PM EDT
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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -A Virginia woman is facing charges after a viral TikTok video shows her feeding a black bear while vacationing in Gatlinburg in late September.

According to a release from TWRA, 21-year-old Kristin Hailee Farris of Danville, VA was seen hand-feeding a black bear in Gatlinburg what appeared to be watermelon, chocolate and other foods on September 30. The video was reportedly viewed more than 500,000 times.

TWRA officers in conjunction with Virginia wildlife officers investigated the incident which led to Farris being charged with Illegal Black Bear Feeding in Gatlinburg. She could serve up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for the Class B Misdemeanor.

Since 2000, regulations have been put in place that prohibit the feeding of bears or leaving food in garbage cans that might attract bears within a six mile radius of Gatlinburg, according to TWRA.

“The overwhelming desire to have a close encounter with a black bear is strangely more powerful than common sense,” says Sevier Co. Wildlife Sgt. David Sexton. “Many people intentionally feed bears with little regard for the dire consequences to the bears and humans they leave behind.”

Farris is required to return to Sevier Co. for booking.

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