Twelve state lawmakers sent a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) executive director Nick Wiley this week, urging him to consider allowing limited bear hunting in some parts of Florida. The request comes after two headline-grabbing bear attacks in the state, including one incident earlier this month in which a woman was dragged from her garage by a black bear.
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“What I’m concerned about mainly is that this continues to happen without intervention and the bears walk up on children who are playing and drag them off into the woods,” State Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) told The Orlando Sentinel.
Terri Frana, 45, was retrieving bikes from her garage on April 12 when she encountered a group of bears outside her Lake Mary home—wildlife officials believe that the bears were there to scrounge food from the family trash. The encounter took a turn for the worse when one of the animals began mauling Frana. She was able to escape and seek shelter inside the house, suffering bite and scratch marks to her head, arms, and shoulders.
The attack on Frana came months after what officials called the worst bear mauling in the state’s history. Last December, Susan Chalfant, 54, was walking her two small dogs in Longwood when a young black bear knocked her down. Chalfant was found by bystanders and rushed to a hospital with severe facial injuries.