Nine local people are facing charges tonight for allegedly luring in black bears and abusing them.
Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say it happened in Baker and Union counties.
In a video -- you can see one bear stuck in a tree with nearly a dozen dogs barking below. Another video posted to social media, that shows the dogs mauling one of the bears, is too graphic to show.
The suspects are accused of using large packs of dogs to chase and maul the bears.
The attorney general is calling these acts gruesome, repulsive and cruel. “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 Pam Bondi. “I doubt they are laughing any longer now that they have been arrested for serious crimes.”
Investigators say they lured bears by placing drums of dog food, doughnuts, pastries and peanut butter before using large packs of dogs to chase and maul the bears
Attorney General Bondi is outraged: “The defendants themselves would come start beating the trees to make the bears fall down so the attack could happen or one of these idiot defendants climbed the tree to push the bear off.”
Governor Rick Scott says, “Thanks to the comprehensive action of law enforcement, led by the dedicated officers of FWC, those responsible for these inhumane acts will face the full force of the law. In Florida, we have no tolerance for vile animal cruelty, and we will hold anyone accountable who commits this heinous crime."
The defendants are facing numerous charges including animal cruelty, baiting and racketeering.
Law enforcement officials arrested the following individuals in connection to the crimes:
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