9 folks have been arrested on suspicion of “repulsive” acts of animal cruelty after allegedly utilizing packs of canines to maul black bears in Florida after luring them out with meals.
The suspects have been charged with a string of offenses following a year-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee (FWC).
The group are accused of attractive black bears with meals reminiscent of doughnuts, pastries and peanut butter earlier than utilizing massive packs of canines to chase and maul the animals.
Among the suspects are additionally accused of posting video clips of the assaults on social media reminiscent of Fb and Snapchat. Not one of the people made any try to name off the canines or cease the assault on the bears, the FWC mentioned in a press release.
The group allegedly carried out the canine assaults on private and non-private lands throughout a number of Florida counties, together with Baker, Flagler, Marion and Union.
“Not solely have been these grotesque acts of violence repulsive and merciless, they have been recorded and posted to social media for the amusement of the defendants. I doubt they’re laughing any longer, now that they’ve been arrested for severe crimes,” Legal professional Basic Pam Bondi mentioned.
“The FWC wholly condemns the acts by these 9 people outlined by this investigation,” mentioned FWC government director Eric Sutton. “As conservationists and moral hunters, it’s appalling to consider the callous disregard for frequent decency and our state’s valuable pure assets proven by these violations. There isn’t a place in Florida for these heinous acts.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott additionally thanked regulation enforcement officers for his or her work, promising these answerable for the “inhumane acts” will face the total pressure of the regulation. “In Florida, we’ve got no tolerance for vile animal cruelty, and we are going to maintain anybody accountable who commits this heinous crime,” Scott added.
The suspects are William Tyler Wooden, 29, Dustin Reddish, 25, Haley Reddish, 25, Mark Lindsey, 26, Charles Luther Scarbrough III, 30, Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 27, Christopher Elliot Haun, 42, William Landrum, 39, and Troy Travis Starling, 45.
They’ve been charged with a string of felonies and misdemeanors, together with animal cruelty, unlawful taking and baiting of black bear, and Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Group) Act violations.
FWC chairman Robert Spottswood mentioned: “The actions revealed by this investigation are disturbing to me and to my fellow Commissioners. Talking on behalf of the Fee, these actions will not be indicative of hunters and different conservationists, and I’m grateful that our Division of Regulation Enforcement has labored diligently to deliver their conduct to gentle.”