FWC: Longwood 'bear gone bad' put down

Bear killed 2 dogs, ravaged SUV, FWC officials say

LONGWOOD, Fla. – A bear that had been attacking dogs and vehicles in the Longwood area was captured Friday morning and killed, officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed.

The female bear was captured at the Estates at Springs Landing around 3 a.m. with a yearling cub. The female bear was put down and the yearling was released into the Ocala National Forest.

"These types of conflicts are rare for Florida black bears," FWC officials said in a statement. "Public safety is a top priority of the FWC, so this bear was humanely killed due to its escalating conflict behavior that posed a risk to the public."

FWC officials said they believe this is the same adult female bear, spotted with two yearling cubs, that attacked two dogs, killing one of them April 25 in the Longwood Springs Boulevard area.

FWC biologists will continue to keep an eye out for the remaining yearling seen with its mother, and if appropriate will attempt to capture the bear. Biologists said yearlings usually leave their mothers in May or June and are not concerned about the yearlings’ ability to survive on their own.

Roxane Mann described the animal that attacked her dog as a "bear gone bad" that's responsible for mauling at least two other dogs in the neighborhood.

Four days later, the same bear climbed inside an unlocked SUV and became trapped. The owner showed News 6 photos of the vehicle's torn-apart interior. FWC biologists said the bear also entered several other unoccupied vehicles.

FWC officials said this week the bear entered a garage by breaking through a side door.

Florida's black bear population is becomes more active in the spring, increasing the chance of conflicts with people. FWC recommends these tips to avoid bear encounters.

Russell Nusynowitz, whose dog was one of those killed by the bear, said this will hopefully prevent further tragedies.

"This is almost like Jurassic Park where we live in," Nusynowitz said. "There's wild animals everywhere here but it's really never been an issue but I'm always very aware."

Nusynowitz said FWC put a bear trap in his yard after his dogs were attacked, but trappers thought it may have moved on to a new food source.

"I think they realized the bear moved on to a different location and set up shop somewhere else," he said. "Again, they said this bear was smarter than your average bear."

FWC biologists are testing the female bear for rabies because it attacked several dogs.

Anyone who sees a bear is encouraged to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.

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