Black Bear Attacks, Kills Family's Dog

LONGWOOD, Fla.,None — Florida Fish and Wildlife officers set up traps on Wednesday in a Longwood neighborhood to catch a bear that killed a family's dog. The bear attacked the pet on Tuesday at a home in the Estates at Springs Landing neighborhood off Markham Woods Road.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers said that if they catch the bear, they plan to euthanize it.

Kim Staber said a black bear attacked and killed her dog, Rocks, a Sheltie. On Tuesday, she let the dog outside into the backyard when the bear spotted the dog.

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"I opened my screen door and I'm just screaming at the bear at the top of my lungs yelling, ‘Help!' and ‘No!,'" Staber said.

Staber said it was trash day and the bear got into the neighbor's trash can. He dragged it to the side of her home and started rummaging through the trash.

Staber said she didn't see the bear when she let her Sheltie outside. Staber said her dog did not bark, lunge or even know the bear was there, but said she believes the black bear thought her dog was a threat and grabbed the dog.

She started screaming at the bear and he finally let go of her dog, but it was too late.

"I don't doubt in my mind it would attack me; it was so ferocious and angry, and it was protecting its food," Staber said.

Staber said she is now concerned about her neighbors and her other dogs.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers said this is the time of year when bears typically try to look for food, but they are more concerned about this particular black bear because he acted aggressively without being provoked.

A spokesperson said there are a lot of bears in the neighborhood. However, the officers are confident they will be able to find the right bear based on Staber's description.

"We don't like killing bears," Florida Fish and Wildlife biologist Tom Shupe said. "We are going to make sure we kill the right bear."

Another homeowner said he plans to tell the homeowner's association about bear-proof garbage cans.