The Florida couple posted their atrocities toward black bears to social media, resulting in their arrest, multiple charges, and jail time.
The couple, operating north of Orlando, must have felt themselves invincible. Together, Charles, 32, and Hannah, 29, filmed themselves luring black bears with human junk food into Ocala National Forest… Only to unleash trained dogs onto them. The resulting carnage would then be posted online, garnering outrage. Eventually, Florida authorities were notified, and the pair is being brought to justice.
The Ocala Star Banner recounts horrific details from the couple’s footage. Working with seven cohorts, the Scarbroughs would sic their dogs onto every bear they could attract. Some would climb trees attempting to escape. But the dogs would tear into each that fell or wasn’t lucky enough to flee. In one near-unbelievable instance, the group shot, killed, and then skinned a black bear for their videos, prosecutors cite.
The footage was then posted on social media as with the rest. It’s difficult to imagine or write about, let alone fathom as pedestrian human behavior.
Last Thursday, Charles Scarbrough pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal baiting and fighting, unlawful use of a two-way communicating device and unlawful taking of a black bear last week,” the New York Post cites of authorities’ prosecution.
Florida’s Punishment for Bear Slaughterers
Now, Callahan, Florida resident Charles faces 25 months in prison. With a full sentence, he will serve five years on probation once released. Charles must also testify against other defendants of their “bear hunting” party (a term used lightly) as part of his plea deal.
Congruently, wife Hannah faces five years and three months of probation resulting from charges of “unlawful tacking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device,” The Ocala Star Banner reports.
In addition, Hannah must pay $3,850.23 to the state for prosecution costs. This, however, pales in comparison to her liability for the $22,847 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation.
Apparently, the atrocities have spanned the course of a year. A third, unnamed party faces four years in prison, as well, despite cooperating with prosecutors in 2020. Six others will also face charges in the case.
The Ocala Star Banner states that Hannah will no longer be lawfully able to breed dogs. Florida is also banning Hannah from the Ocala National Forest as a result of her charges. The trade does not state these same circumstances for her husband, but we can only hope they hold for him, as well.
The Scarbrough’s actions is a horrendous version of the already-controversial “bear baiting”. Within, bait is used to lure black bears before being “hunted.”
In the practice of bear-baiting, hunters will place food directly within a bear habitat. Then, the aim is to hide in waiting for a bear to take the bait. The bear is then killed when in range. Often, the bait includes human foods and trash that bears do not have access to in the wild.