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Florida couple pleads guilty to attacking bears with dogs

May 19, 2021 GMT

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A married couple has pleaded guilty to using doughnuts and pastries to lure black bears in rural Florida, allowing packs of dogs to attack them and then posting the gruesome videos on social media.

Charles Scarbrough entered guilty pleas of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal baiting and fighting, unlawful use of a two-way communicating device and unlawful taking of a black bear, the Ocala Star Banner reports. He has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Because of that, sentencing was deferred, though he faces anywhere from five years of probation to more than two years in prison.

His wife, Hannah Scarbrough, was sentenced to more than five years of probation on charges of unlawful taking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device.

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According to terms of the agreement, she must pay $3,850.23 to the state for prosecution costs. She also must pay the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission $22,847 for its investigation.

Statewide prosecutors said the Scarbroughs were part of a group of people who would use trained dogs to attack black bears in multiple areas in central Florida, including the Ocala National Forest.

Prosecutors said at least one bear was shot and later skinned.