LONGWOOD, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Residents in a Longwood neighborhood are trying to convince wildlife cops to let a bear live, after it was accused of attacking a woman.
On Tuesday morning, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call of a man saying his wife had been attacked by a bear.
According to a deputy’s report, the woman took her dog outside off-leash at about midnight and the dog began barking at a mamma bear and 2 cubs near-by. The bear reportedly ran at the woman who fell twice trying to get back in her home.
According to the report, the woman than said the bear bit her on the heel of her foot. When questioned later by the deputy though, the woman said she wasn’t certain if the bear actually bit her heel or scratched it though; the deputy writing she did have a puncture mark on her foot.
A representative for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said Wednesday that the agency has set traps for the bear, and if the mamma bear is caught it will be euthanized per standard procedure. They said the cubs, if caught, will be relocated as biologists have determined they’re old enough to fend for themselves.
Many residents in the Springs neighborhood, where the possible attack took place, were outraged Wednesday by the decision to trap and kill the bear.
"So many people here are absolutely heartbroken!" said Christina Bolduc.
The Springs community sits in the busy 434 corridor, but it gated off from the strip malls and packed streets around it. Inside the gates, large trees, streams, and a spring sit alongside homes, and the residents living there say they expect to live with the wildlife that calls all that nature home.
Several neighbors reported seeing that bear and cubs in recent weeks and said it never seemed to pose a threat.
"Tons of love for the bears here, no one wants to see this mamma bear die,” said Angi Beres.
Many of the upset neighbors questioned if the bear had actually bitten the neighbor. Most felt there wasat least enough doubt to spare the bear’s life.
"The bear did not stomp her into the ground, the bear did not attack her dog, and I think FWC is really kind of over-reaching at this point,” said Beres.
"I have seen so many bears killed in the last 5 years and it's always the resident doing what we've been told not to do,” said long-time resident Doty Derato.
Residents said they’ve set up a community meeting with FWC officials next week to try and convince the organization to spare the bear.