PETITION TARGET: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
Florida authorities have arrested nine people accused of running a sickening operation that had black bears chased, tortured and killed by packs of hunting dogs throughout various counties in the state.
Footage shared on social media reveals the depth of torture experienced by the bears, with one heartbreaking video showing a terrified, exhausted black bear attempting to escape up a tree before falling to the ground and being mauled to death by at least a dozen frenzied dogs.
Bears as young as one week old were savaged in these brutal attacks, the majestic animals so overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs they were unable to fight back.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says their investigation found that two bears died as a direct result of the baiting and hunting, but authorities suspect many more were killed over the last year.
The nearly year-long investigation discovered the group using buckets of peanut butter, dog food, and stolen donuts to bait the bears before ordering the dogs to attack the helpless animals. Many of the incidents were filmed and used as “advertising” to sell hunting dogs. Florida county authorities have confiscated 53 dogs used in the operation.
It is illegal to hunt bears in Florida, and the perpetrators have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors including animal cruelty, illegally baiting and taking black bears, and RICO violations. Each person accused may face at least 30 years in prison.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and local authorities should be commended for taking this case seriously so far and working to shut down the operation. Sign this petition encouraging her to see this case through to justice, and push for a lifelong ban on the hunting or keeping of any animal for all found guilty.
PETITION UPDATE 2/24/20: The nine suspects had their first court appearance on February 11, 2020. The next court date is July 7, 2020 for a pretrial conference.