Bear caught, euthanized in area where Longwood woman attacked



LONGWOOD, Fla. - A 200-pound bear was caught Wednesday night in the Longwood neighborhood where a woman was injured in an attack Monday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials said the trapped bear closely fit the description of the bear that attacked and injured Susan Chalfant.

Chalfant, 54, was attacked Monday night while walking her dogs. She was hospitalized with serious injuries on her face.

Wildlife officials said that because the bear was caught within 48 hours of the attack, and in the same area, the decision was made to euthanize the animal.

"Since the incident resulted in serious injuries, we decided to follow the course of an abundance of caution and put the bear down," Nick Wiley, FWC executive director, said in a press release.

Wildlife biologists caught a smaller bear Tuesday night, but that bear did not fit the description of the one believed to have attacked Chalfant.

Officials said the traps will stay in the community for at least the next several days.

Tracy Harper has shared her front and backyards with bears since she moved into Longwood 10 years ago.

She's worried the bear she saw nursing her cub behind her home is the same one caught and killed last night.

"It would be devastating to me to see wildlife destroyed. They belong here. They were here first," Harper said.

She and others said FWC should've waited until they received DNA results first before putting the bear down, especially since officials are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

When Eyewitness News asked how they were sure, even officials admitted they're not positive.

Since the bear has the bigger paws than the cub they caught and it came to the same area where the woman was hurt, it was enough for them to act immediately.

"I mean, it's not like a fingerprint or anything, but it was about the same size," Karen Parker with FWC said.

Florida fish and wildlife says it's hard to tell if the female they caught is the mother of the cub caught the other day.

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