'Meatball' the bear to stay in Calif.

Alpine sanctuary raises money to keep bear

ALPINE, Calif. - A bear that roamed the foothills above Los Angeles, swimming in pools and swiping meatballs out of garage freezers has found a home at an east San Diego County sanctuary.

The Los Angeles Times reports that California Department of Fish and Game officials have decided the Lions, Tigers, and Bears sanctuary in Alpine where he's being held can become the permanent home of the California black bear known as Meatball for his food-filching hijinks.  

The bear currently lives in a 15-foot by 20-foot cage, but the sanctuary is raising funds to build the 400-pound 5-year-old a new habitat with a waterfall, hammocks, trees and caves.

Meatball was initially going to be sent to a Colorado wildlife refuge, but state regulations there forbade it.

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