2 plead guilty in Central Florida 'bear baiting' case: report
MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Two people have entered guilty pleas in a 2018 case of bear baiting, where officials say a group lured bears and then sent dogs to attack them.
According to court documents, Charles Scarbrough plead guilty to several charges, including animal baiting or fighting and unlawful taking of a black bear. Hannah Scarbrough plead guilty to unlawful use of a 2-way communication device and unlawful taking of a black bear. She was given 5 years and 3 months of probation.
Felony charges of cruelty to animals were dropped.
As a condition of Hannah's probation, court records state she cannot hunt or possess dogs for hunting or have any involvement in the training of dogs.
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Back in 2018, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called the case, "one of the most horrific wildlife abuses I've ever seen in my almost 30 year career as a prosecutor." Bondi says 9 people were reportedly involved at the time. Records state that the group lured bears in the woods and set dogs on them, mauling and killing the bears.
Posts on Instagram and Facebook indicated they were training the dogs to take bears, writing "when your hound gets hot and wobbly from running a bear today."
"Of course we know part of it was monetary because they're training the dogs but I also think part of it, you'll see, was for their sick pleasure," said Bondi.
It’s called treeing when a hunting dog chases a bear and the bear goes up a tree. But they didn’t want the bear to stay there.
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"One of these idiots climbed the tree to push the bear off."
Prosecutors say they lured the bears with dog food, peanut butter and donuts that they got while dumpster diving at donut shops.
Fifty-three dogs were seized. Bondi said there’s no way of knowing how many bears were killed.