Hannah and Charles Scarbrough Florida couple plead guilty to luring black bears in Ocala National Park and then setting dogs to attack them, posting video on social media.
Charles Scarbrough, 32, and his wife Hannah, 29, both pleaded guilty last week in connection with the videos made in a national forest north of Orlando, according to The Ocala Star Banner.
The couple was part of a group involving at least seven others who would lure bears with treats before unleashing the dogs on them, prosecutors say. The bears would sometimes climb trees in the hopes the dogs would leave, but would be attacked if they fell. In one instance, the group shot and skinned a bear, prosecutors claim.
On another occasion, Charles and two of his conspirators were filmed rifling through a dumpster outside a Krispy Kreme store for sweet treats to help facilitate their hunts.
The resulting videos were then posted on social media.
‘Proudly recorded torture’
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi noted that the accused ‘proudly recorded and posted some of these vicious attacks on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat,’ according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Charles last Thursday conceded to conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal baiting and fighting, unlawful use of a two-way communicating device and unlawful taking of a black bear last week, the paper reports.
He faces more than two years behind bars.
Hannah was sentenced to five years probation after she pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful taking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device.
She must also pay state officials about $27,000 to recoup the costs from the investigation and prosecution, and refrain from training and breeding dogs.
A third participant faces four years in prison after she cooperated with prosecutors last year. Six other people reportedly face charges in connection with the case.
Under the terms of Charles’ plea deal, he must testify against the other defendants and cooperate with prosecutors.
Bear hunting in Florida is currently illegal, although hunts could soon be allowed again as part of a bear population management tool.