Throw the Book at Bear Killers

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Nine people have been arrested following an animal abuse investigation by the Florida FWC and Attorney General Pam Bondi. The gruesome details coming to light describe extreme cruelty inflicted upon peaceful, defenseless Florida black bears.

According to Attorney General Bondi, the defendants baited bears by placing peanut butter and doughnuts in trees, and then let hunting dogs chase the bears up the trees. Investigators said that the defendants then would shake the trees until the bears fell to the ground where the dogs would viciously maul and tear apart the bears. 

“In some of the videos, defendants can be seen forcing the bears to a waiting pack of approximately a dozen dogs that then repeatedly bit the bears,” a news release about the arrests said. “None of the individuals involved tried to call off the dogs or stop the attack on the bears.” The defendents then posts the videos to Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

“Not only were these gruesome acts of violence repulsive and cruel, they were recorded and posted to social media for the amusement of the defendants,” said  Bondi. “I doubt they are laughing any longer now that they have been arrested for serious crimes.”

All nine defendants face charges including animal cruelty, animal fighting or baiting, conspiracy to commit racketeering, littering, unlawful taking of black bears, and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

The following people were arrested in connection to the crimes:

Christopher Elliot Haun, 42, Ormond Beach, Fla.
William Landrum, 39, Millboro, Va.
Mark Lindsey, 26, Moultrie, Ga.
Dustin Reddish, 25, Lake Butler, Fla.
Haley Reddish, 25, Lake Butler, Fla.
Charles Luther Scarbrough III, 30, Callahan, Fla.
Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 27, Callahan, Fla.
Troy Travis Starling, 45, Lake Butler, Fla.
William Tyler Wood, 29, Lake Butler, Fla.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says bear baiting involves intensive feeding of black bears to make them easier targets of trophy hunters.

We greatly appreciate the AG and FWC's attention in investigating these crimes. Now we are asking that they seek the harshest punishment to send a message that poaching, bear baiting, and any other animal cruelty will not be taken lightly. 

PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME TO ASK AUTHORITIES TO PURSUE THE MOST SERIOUS CHARGES AND PUNISHMENT AGAINST THESE ANIMAL ABUSERS.