A family’s pet Chihuahua suffered a tragic fate after a black bear attacked the dog on Monday.
Florida family, Shawn and Rusty Wildman, sadly lost their six-year-old Chihuahua, who they lovingly named Maggi. A black bear killed the beloved pet after it was right outside their home in Holley, which is north of Navarre in Santa Rosa County.
When asked about the horrific incident, the family was more than emotional as they recalled the tragic events that unfolded. “I’m running, screaming to the top of my lungs,” recalled Rusty. “I could tell what it was by the way he was screaming,” said Shawn.
Shawn added: “We are shattered. She was a gift to me when our only daughter went off to college so I would have something to mother and love.”
According to Rusty, he took their three dogs out around 5 p.m. on Monday, July 18. As he describes, the dogs weren’t far from the front porch when three black bears came up to the house from the backyard.
“The other two started to go but the other one turned around and snatched her and took off right behind them and it was one of the cubs that got her, not the mama,” said Rusty about the Maggi’s final moments.
As the family described, the black bears scurried off into the woods and dropped Maggi’s lifeless body on the way.
“Nobody should have to go through what we went through to see that and live with those images,” said Shawn about losing his fir baby.
Mourning family pleads for Florida officials to ‘do something’ about black bears
In addition, the grieving family said they don’t keep any food or birdseed out in their yard. They also revealed that they keep their trash cans locked and do everything they can to practice bear safety.
They added that they don’t want this tragedy to happen again or to anyone else’s family.
“Our state has got to do something to protect us,” said Shawn. “I don’t want to see the bears killed but I would like to see them relocated to a safe place for them and for us,” added Rusty.
Following the incident, on Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set a trap to try and relocate the black bears.
In addition, another Florida black bear was struck by a car and killed on Tuesday. The accident happened at about 5:30 p.m., according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer who had to shoot the bear because it was suffering.
The wildlife officer estimated the female bear to weigh between 300 and 350 pounds. The Commission reported on its website that in 2017 there were more than 4,000 black bears in the sunshine state. About 1,200 were in the Central Florida area, a 17% increase from 2002 to 2015.