TAMPA (CBSMiami) — Nine men are under arrest for the vicious abuse of Florida black bears.
The Florida Attorney General and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the arrests Wednesday.
Attorney General Pam Bondi says it is the result of a long-term investigation into illegal baiting and abuse of Florida black bears.
Bondi says the defendants would put food around trees for the bears, such as dog food, doughnuts and peanut butter, and then let several hunting dogs chase the bears up to the top of a tree. According to authorities, the defendants would shake the trees until the bears fell, then send dogs to chase and maul the black bears.
“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 Attorney General Bondi. “I doubt they are laughing any longer now that they have been arrested for serious crimes.”
Bondi said this type of behavior is cruelty to animals and what she called the worst of the worst.
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.
All nine defendants face various 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 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says bear baiting involves intensive feeding of black bears to make them easier targets of trophy hunters.