Bear attacks, kills pet goats, injures donkey in Volusia County

Florida wildlife officials advise families to secure animals

LAKE HELEN, Fla. - A bear attacked and killed four pet goats and injured a donkey at a rural Volusia County home, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The attack happened about 4 a.m. Monday at a home on Running Deer Trail, a wooded lane not far from Interstate 4.

Pictures of the bear have been taken by neighbors, showing a bear that is over 300 pounds.

The homeowner, whose miniature donkey, Nugget, was badly scratched by the bear, told the FWC that she is "terrified because the bear has now tasted blood."

Dan MacCarrick, a neighbor, said bears have traveled through his yard previously, but there's never been a reason to call wildlife officials. 

"I think that now that he's actually killed something, FWC needs to do something, he said.  "Now that's he's actually climbed inside pastures and killed other animals, he'll continue to kill. 

MacCarrick said he wonders what the bear could do next.

"I'm concerned about the kids in the neighborhood, other pets in the area," he said.  "It killed the (animals) just for fun, it appears.  He didn't eat anything.  He just killed them and went on to the next one.

"I'm actually pretty tired.  We haven't slept a whole lot since Sunday.  Every time the dogs bark, we do what we can to secure the smaller animals that we have," MacCarrick said.  "We lock them up in a stall.  We've barricaded our barn to try and protect them.  During the day they're in the pasture."

Cathy Murphy, the owner of the pet goats who were killed, believes the bear climbed over the fence because a portion of it is destroyed.

The FWC said bears occasionally take small livestock, but the animal's typical diet consists 80 percent plants, nuts and berries.

Wildlife officials said they advised the families to secure all feed and garbage in a closed, locked building or secure area.  Also, the FWC said small livestock should be kept in an area surrounded by an electric fence.

"We'll put that around where the smaller animals are kept," said MacCarrick, adding that the materials for the fence cost him about $500. 

MacCarrick said he's hopeful that the bear can be trapped and relocated and won't have to be euthanized.

As of now, the FWC has no plans of setting traps to eventually relocate the bear.

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