'Meatball' the bear could stay in Southern California

ALPINE, Calif.

Funds are being raised to permanently house Meatball at Alpine, a wildlife sanctuary in San Diego County. He was captured with a bacon and honey trap after being caught swimming in La Canada Flintridge backyard pool Aug. 29.

After a brief stay at Alpine, Meatball was then supposed to move on to a sanctuary in Colorado. But there are legal conflicts between a Colorado statute that allows the move and a state regulation that does not. As of Friday, a decision still had not been made about Meatball's fate in Colorado.

If enough money is raised and Meatball cannot stay in Colorado, he will return to the Alpine facility. There, a specialized bear habitat will be constructed for Meatball, which will include a pool. According to Alpine's Lions Tigers and Bears website, the project will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Meatball is infamous for his numerous trips from the Angeles National Forest into neighborhoods to rummage through trash cans and garage refrigerators. He was named Meatball because it is his snack of choice.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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