Black bear startles residents in DeBary neighborhood

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A large, black bear has been spotted in the Spring View neighborhood in DeBary at least four times in the past week.

John Rivas came face-to-face with the huge black bear on Thanksgiving morning when he went out to pick up his newspaper.

"It was actually across the street.  I didn't see it, until I picked up the paper.  I saw a black shadow go past that Jeep there, and it was about a 400 to 500 pound bear," he says. 

He worries about his one-year-old daughter, Aria, who just started walking, not to mention his neighbors and all their pets.

His neighbor, Dan Begey, saw the bear four times in the past week.

"Thanksgiving morning, my 10-year-old daughter woke us up and said, 'There's a bear in our back yard!'"

That's when he took several pictures.

"It was out here for about an hour, eating acorns from the ground. Then we scared it off. The next night we heard at about 4 or 5 in morning, scratching," he says.  "Looked out in morning, and he literally broke through the fence."

So far it has been just a few peaceful encounters, but these dads fear what a bear this size would do if it's cornered.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not remove bears, unless they have attacked. Their best advice is to have people make sure all food and garbage is put away or secured. If the food source is gone, the bear will likely move on.