Longwood woman chased by bear while walking dog

'It's one of the scariest things that's ever happened,' woman says


LONGWOOD, Fla. – A Longwood woman says she was chased by a bear Tuesday night while walking her dog on Ledbury Drive.

Stefani McCoy said she noticed the bear in her neighbor's yard around 8:15 p.m., then spotted two cubs near a tree.

McCoy said she and her dog, Bella, immediately turned around and started running away from the bears, but the female bear charged after her.

McCoy said she started screaming while her dog was barking. At one point, McCoy told Local 6, the bear came within 8 feet. She said she and her dog ran for about 30 yards before the bear finally stopped chasing them and went back to its cubs.

"It's one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me," said McCoy. "I'm not normally... charged by animals."

The encounter comes one week after a woman was mauled by a bear in the Longwood area. On Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removed bear traps that they had set up, hoping to catch the bear.

On Monday, FWC trapped a female bear and her two cubs, which were taken to a rehab facility.

Since the attack, the FWC also trapped two adult bears, a male and a female. FWC officials said those bears "matched the description" of the bear that attacked the woman and were both euthanized.

The bears are now being tested, but FWC officials said they strongly believe the female bear was the animal responsible for the attack.

In the past three years, wildlife officers have been setting more bear traps in northeast region of the state.

In 2010, 19 bears were captured, 25 in 2011, and that number doubled in 2012, with 50 bears captured.

So far this year, 43 bears have been captured- that number includes the two bears that were put down after a woman was attacked last week.

FWC says construction on the Wekiva Parkway Project could be disrupting the bears, but the animals have such large home ranges that they would generally just avoid the noisy areas.

"I don't know if there's any way to get them all, and take them somewhere other than right here where they're going in peoples garages and chasing people, I mean that's insane," said Becky Longfellow, who lives a few doors down from the woman who was chased by the bear on Tuesday.

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