9 charged with baiting, abusing black bears in Florida

Black bear (Stock image/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Nine people were arrested for illegally baiting and abusing black bears in Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office announced Wednesday.

“Not only were these gruesome acts of violence repulsive and cruel, they were recorded and posted to social media for the amusement of the defendants,” Bondi said in a news release. “I doubt they are laughing any longer now that they have been arrested for serious crimes.”

According to the investigation, the defendants lured black bears by placing drums of dog food, doughnuts, pastries and peanut butter in various areas throughout Baker, Flagler, Marion and Union counties. The defendants then used large packs of dogs to chase and maul the black bears.

After some of the attacks, the defendants posted numerous videos of the acts on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, according to Bondi’s office.

In some of the videos, the defendants can be seen forcing the bears to a waiting pack of approximately a dozen dogs that then repeatedly bit the bears. None of the individuals involved tried to call off the dogs or stop the attack on the bears. The Office of Statewide Prosecution obtained warrants for social media accounts where the defendants posted videos of the attacks.

Law enforcement officials arrested the following individuals in connection to the crimes:

  • Christopher Elliot Haun, 42, of Ormond Beach, Florida
  • William Landrum, 39, of Millboro, Virginia
  • Mark Lindsey, 26, of Moultrie, Georgia
  • Dustin Reddish, 25, of Lake Butler, Florida
  • Haley Reddish, 25, of Lake Butler, Florida
  • Charles Luther Scarbrough III, 30, of Callahan, Florida
  • Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 27, of Callahan, Florida
  • Troy Travis Starling, 45, of Lake Butler, Florida
  • William Tyler Wood, 29, of Lake Butler, Florida

All nine defendants face various charges including animal cruelty, animal fighting or baiting, conspiracy to commit racketeering, littering, unlawful taking of black bears, and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device.