Meeting held to discuss black bear problems in Longwood


LONGWOOD, Fla. - Wildlife officials met with residents in Longwood over how to properly handle the community's bears.

The meeting comes just days after Joshua Hennessy claimed he was attacked by a bear only to later admit he fell while chasing one.

The meeting was held at Markham Woods Church Tuesday evening

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were at the meeting to offer the public a chance to ask questions and provide input on local bear issues.

Officials said recent bear attacks in the area and the uproar over bears being euthanized could draw more people to the meeting.

"We've had public meetings in the past and we always get an extremely good turnout in this area because these people are living with bears," said Mike Orlando of the FWC. "I mean, they have bears in and around their homes all the time."

Several people at the meeting brought up a December incident in which a Longwood woman was seriously injured after being attacked by a bear. Some blamed the woman for the attack, but wildlife officers said she wasn't to blame. They reminded residents to not put food out for the bears.

Tuesday's meeting was the first of seven scheduled throughout the state.