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‘I feel trapped’: Leesburg neighborhood terrorized by family of bears

LEESBURG, Fla. — A Leesburg family says black bears have been visiting their home at least three times a week and caused hundreds of dollars in damage and terror for the family.

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Teana Sayers told Eyewitness News they have been dealing with a bear problem for the past few months, and now they seem to be getting more aggressive.

“I feel trapped. I feel like we can’t live day to day without being in fear,” said homeowner Teana Sayers.

Sayers said she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a solution to getting rid of the bears. She said she was told to get an electrical fence, money that can’t be dished out right now.

“That’s not the answer I’m looking for, they’re still going to come through the yard,” said Sayers.

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Sayers said the current fencing around the house has already been damaged by the bears to get over it.

“We’re all scared. Even when I get home in late evening I’m scared to get out of my vehicle and go inside the house because I don’t know what’s around the corner,” said Sayers.

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FWC told Eyewitness News:

“During the fall, bears become more active in search of food and consume more calories to pack on fat reserves for the winter. Adult bears need to consume approximately 20,000 calories a day during the fall. If given the opportunity, bears will take advantage of easy meals from things like unsecured trash cans and bird feeders.

Bears will typically not move away from an area if there is easy access to food, such as unsecured trash cans, pet food, and bird seed, so people can make a big difference in helping to prevent conflicts with bears by securing or removing any attractants that will cause bears to linger in a neighborhood. Seeing a bear in a neighborhood is not necessarily cause for alarm. However, it is important that residents secure food attractants so that bears do not linger in the area. If a bear is not able to find food, it will move on. Feeding bears can make them lose their natural fear of people and increase the likelihood of conflicts.

Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) if you feel threatened by a bear; observe a sick, injured, dead, or orphaned bear; or to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them.”

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Wildlife expert and owner of Jungle Jake, Jake Dunlop, said for the time being disinfect trash cans and other places the bears were seen so they lose their scent.

“Anyone dealing with issues like this, I highly recommend environmentally disinfectant spray and treating any areas you’ve noticed any wildlife activity. It’s not going to make it 100% that they won’t come back, it’s just going to make it significantly less likely because the scent won’t be there to draw them back in,” said Jake Dunlop.

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