A Northeast Florida couple pleaded guilty on Thursday to animal abuse charges after they were accused of using dogs to attack bears in the Ocala National Forest.
According to the Ocala StarBanner, Charles L. Scarbrough, 32, and his wife Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 29, used doughnuts and pastries to bait unsuspecting bears. They would then unleash trained dogs to attack.
The StarBanner reports sometimes the bears would climb trees and remain there, fearing the dogs below. Sometimes the bears would try jumping to another tree and would fall down to the dogs below. Prosecutors said at least one bear was shot and skinned with videos posted on social media.
Charles Scarbrough pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal baiting and fighting, unlawful use of a two-way communicating device and unlawful taking of a black bear. As part of his deal, he must testify against his co-defendants and cooperate with prosecutors. His sentence was deferred and could be anywhere from five years of probation to 25 months in prison.
Hannah Scarbrough pleaded guilty to unlawful tracking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device. As part of her deal, she must pay $3,850.23 to the state for prosecution costs and another $22,847.00 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for its investigation. She’s no longer allowed to train or breed dogs and cannot return to the Ocala National Forest.
A third co-defendant was sentenced in November.
Cox Media Group