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FWC: Long-Term Investigation leads to 9 Arrests

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FWC along with Attorney General, Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, announced the arrests of nine individuals Wednesday.

The arrests come after a year-long investigation into the illegal baiting, taking and molestation of Florida black bears by the use of dogs for commercial purposes.

During the investigation, FWC officers gathered evidence of numerous illegal acts in several Florida counties on both private and public lands.

“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 doubt they are laughing any longer, now that they have been arrested for serious crimes,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.

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. None of the individuals involved tried to call off the dogs or stop the attack on the bears. 

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

29 year-old William Tyler Wood of Lake Butler has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting and baiting, 4 counts of animal cruelty, littering, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

25 year-old Dustin Reddish of Lake Butler has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, animal cruelty, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

25 year-old Haley Reddish of Lake Butler has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, animal cruelty, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

26 year-old Mark Lindsey of Moultrie, Georgia has been charged with  one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, 3 counts of animal cruelty, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

30 year-old Charles Luther Scarbrough II along with Hannah Weiner Scarbrough of Callahan has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, 2 counts of animal cruelty, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

42 year-old Christopher Elliot Haun of Ormond Beach has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

39 year-old William Edward Landrum of Millboro, Virginia has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal fighting or baiting, and unlawful taking of a black bear.

45 year old Troy Travis Starling of Lake Butler has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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