Black bear found shot and killed in Apopka: 'Heart-wrenching'

A black bear was found shot and killed in an Apopka neighborhood last week and now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for the person who shot the animal. 

The homeowner who found the bear said he was taking his dogs outside on a walk when he saw the 500 pound bear lying in his grass. His wife called law enforcement and FWC arrived to investigate and remove the bear. 

According to the homeowner, he was told by investigators that the bear had a bullet hole in his lung. And that they believed it could have been shot somewhere else and walked as far as he could before collapsing in the man’s front yard. 

"To me, it's very depressing, and it was heart-wrenching because to me that was a majestic animal. This is their territory. They lived here before we got here. Now we've moved in and we should be sharing it with them," said Bill Lueckfeld, who found the bear. 

Lueckfeld said it’s not uncommon to see bears in his neighborhood, which is near Wekiwa Springs State Park. 

"It's very disturbing to see something like that because we love seeing those animals, but we don't love seeing them that way," he said. 

This incident comes as a bill is awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature that would allow Florida residents to kill black bears threatening them on their property with no consequences. The legislation is similar to the "stand your ground" law that allows people to use deadly force against other people threatening them. 

Supporters say Floridians have the right to defend themselves, their families, pets, and property against bears coming around looking for food. However, opponents fear people will shoot the bears and not take other precautions. 

"There is no reason for anybody to feel threatened if there's a bear walking across your lawn, or if a bear is knocking over your garbage can," said Lueckfeld. "Most of the time, that's all you got to do is yell at them. That's all you got to do is blow a whistle, make some noise. They're going to run."