A pair of married animal torturers have admitted using donuts to lure bears into the woods so their hunting dogs could rip the terrified animals apart.
Charles L. Scarbrough, 32, and Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 29, entered separate guilty pleas for their involvement in luring the bears on May 13.
They were arrested in 2018, along with seven others after a months-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation into the trapping and mutilation of bears in various parts of the state, the Ocala StarBanner reported.
The group would set the bait and send trained dogs to attack the animals, which would in certain cases climb up trees to escape the danger.
On one occasion, Charles and two of his cronies were even filmed rifling through a dumpster outside a Krispy Kreme store for sweet treats to help facilitate their twisted hunts.
Charles Luther Scarbrough III, 30, and wife Hannah Weiner Scarbrough, 27, of Callahan, Florida pleaded guilty on May 13 for a criminal scheme that involved luring bears with donuts and pastries in order to to hunt them using packs of dogs. They were arrested in 2018 after a months-long state investigation into the bear maulings
Sometimes, the bears would fall and the dogs would be there waiting to attack again, prosecutors said.
Members of the group would post pictures and videos to social media showing mutilated bears and dogs chasing the animals into trees, and took an obvious delight in watching the bears’ distress.
Charles pleaded guilty to charges of animal baiting and fighting, the unlawful taking of a black bear, conspiracy to commit racketeering and unlawful use of a two-way communicating device.
He faces up to two years in prison, but his sentencing was delayed under the terms of his plea deal, in which he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against his co-defendants.
Charles Luther Scarbrough III shared this photo of himself and wife Hannah with a dead bear
Hannah pleaded guilty to unlawful taking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device.
She was sentenced to five years of probation, and ordered to pay $3,850 to the state for prosecution costs and $22,847 to the FFWCC for its investigation.
She is also barred from training and breeding dogs, and from returning to the Ocala National Forest.
A third member of the group, Haley Reddish, previously pleaded guilty in November, 2020 for her involvement in the illegal hunting of bears, the Ocala StarBanner also reported.
Dustin and Haley Reddish were among the nine arrested in 2018 for their involvement in the illegal hunting of bears along with the Scarbroughs. Haley Reddish pleaded guilty in November, 2020
She faces up to four years in prison for charges of felony cruelty to animals, using an animal to fight or bait another animal, unlawful taking of a black bear, conspiracy to commit a Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act violation.
Haley’s husband Dustin Reddish also go in on the warped past-time, and faced similar charges to his wife. DailyMail.com has reached out to the Florida FWC for an update on his case.
Investigators also seized 53 dogs, in the 2018 arrests, although it’s suspected that ‘a lot more dogs’ were involved in the illegal bear hunting scheme.
During the press conference announcing the arrests, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the nine people were ‘training dogs to pursue and attack the bears,’ calling it one of the ‘most horrific’ violations she’d ever seen, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Bondi noted that the accused ‘proudly recorded and posted some of these vicious attacks on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.’
Bear hunting in Florida is currently illegal, although hunts could soon be allowed again as part of a bear population management tool.
Dustin Reddish posted multiple pictures and videos to his Instagram showing the killing and mutilating of bears. His wife Haley has since admitted animal abuse
Videos on Dustin Reddish’s Instagram showed his dogs hunting the bears
A 45-page affidavit was filed, documenting multiple violations by the nine people, which occurred on both private and public lands, including Ocala National Forest, in six counties. Investigators reported that they observed some of the accused using dog food, pastries, doughnuts and peanut butter to bait, abuse and kill the bears, in addition to finding two dead bears.
The dog and human foods were said to have been placed in wooded areas for the bears to eat. Then, when the bears showed up, the trained dogs were let loose to chase and maul the bears.
The attacks were videoed by the accused and then posted on social media. The social media posts also included discussions of breeding, selling and training dogs.
Dusty Reddish, another of the nine arrested, has an Instagram page is filled with pictures of bears clinging to the tops of trees and videos of dogs ferociously barking up and pawing at trees which presumably have bears in them.
Christopher Elliot Haun, 42 (left), of Ormond Beach, Florida, and William Tyler Wood, 29, of Lake Butler were also taken into custody after the investigation
The animal abuser also shared a clip of two dogs nipping at a terrified possum that appeared to have been released from a trap. That clip ended just as one of the dogs sunk its teeth into the frightened marsupial.
On September 19, 2018, he posted a night-vision image of a bear, captioned ‘Tomorrow is the day hopefully this fella dies.’ About a week and a half later, on September 30, he posted a photo of himself smiling next to a bloodied, dead bear that is strung up by one leg.
The Scarbroughs also filled their Instagram page with pictures of bears on trees and images of Hannah smiling next to bear corpses. Many posts were tagged with the phrase ‘#beardogs’ and ‘#bearhunters.’
Authorities said that the group would monitor the dogs though GPS and use them to track down the bears. The dogs would then chase the bears up into trees, waiting on the ground until the bears jumped or fell, and then would attack them, the Gainesville Sun reported.
Reddish also posted a night-vision image of a bear, captioned ‘Tomorrow is the day hopefully this fella dies.’
One video collected during the investigation allegedly showed the group cheering as dogs attacked a bear that had fallen out of a tree after co-accused William Tyler Wood banged a stick against the tree.
Another video, which had been uploaded by Mark Lindsey, according to authorities, showed a bear being mauled by a pack of dogs, at one point having its ears held by dogs, while others bit it.
Troy Travis Starling, meanwhile, was said to have been seen skinning a large bear in a video with an unidentified party.
Updates on the cases against Lindsey, Wood, Starling and another defendant called Christopher Haun have not been given.
Investigators also said that they observed Reddish, Charles Scarbrough and Lindsey stealing donuts from a Krispy Kreme garbage dumpster in Jacksonville, Florida, and putting them in Dustin’s truck.
A few days later, Dustin and wife Haley Reddish were then seen releasing their dogs in an area that had been bated with donuts, pastries and peanut butter. On a different date, Dustin was seen at an different area where decaying donuts and peanut butter were later found in barrels.
‘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. I doubt they are laughing any longer, now that they have been arrested for serious crimes,’ Bondi said in a statement obtained by the Gainesville Sun.