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'There's a lot of anger': Mama bear euthanized after being shot in Florida

'Why is someone shooting 16 shots in a neighborhood where there's children?' Cindy Freeman asks
Posted at 8:09 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 20:16:02-04

SANFORD, Fla. — Neighbors in a Central Florida community are upset after someone shot a mama black bear seen with two cubs.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed it happened Friday morning in the Tall Trees area of Sanford. FWC investigated and said the mama bear was euthanized because of her injuries from the shooting.

In a statement sent Wednesday afternoon, FWC said, "The cubs are old enough to survive on their own and have been observed on game cameras eating on their own; however, FWC bear biologists are actively searching for the cubs for further assessment."

Neighbors are outraged and want to know why someone would do this.

"My heart breaks. I know it's a bear, but it's not just a bear. I feel for the cubs," Cindy Freeman, vice president of the neighborhood Homeowner's Association, said. "Why is someone shooting 16 shots in a neighborhood where there's children headed for the school bus stops? It was just heartbreak because, I mean, I've spent months looking at them and just in awe of them."

Cindy Freeman shares her outrage after the bear was killed in her Florida neighborhood.
Cindy Freeman shares her outrage after the bear was killed in her Florida neighborhood.

Freeman said the mama bear and her cubs would often roam the neighborhood, and people loved seeing them. They always took the necessary precautions to protect the bears and themselves.

"When we know mama is out and about with her babies, we will text each other, 'They're here,'" Freeman said. "We will give a location and recommend if your garage doors open, put it down. They're out looking around."

FWC said black bears are protected by the Bear Conservation Rule, and it's illegal to shoot one.

The crime is a misdemeanor and could lead to fines of up to $1,000 and/or possibly a year in jail. It could also lead to losing recreational licenses for three years for a first offense. Multiple offenses can result in higher penalties, longer imprisonment, and/or permanent suspension of recreational licenses.

It's unclear if the person accused of the shooting will face charges. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office told WESH-TV on Thursday that the incident "involved an off-duty agency member," and later clarified that it was an off-duty deputy.

The-CNN-Wire
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