GOLDEN GATE PROPERTIES
Witnesses and experts testified at the trial of the man who shot the bear cub at the Golden Gate Estates in 2020.
Kyle Aaron Stevens recognized in court documents that he shot the teddy bear, claiming he did it to protect his dog.
The judge in the case found him guilty of committing offenses and sentenced him to six months probation. Stevens will also have to pay a $ 500 fine and take a hunter’s security course.
On Wednesday, he testified that he did not intend to kill the baby, so he said he used a shot.
Under state law, there is no legal authority to use lethal force in self-defense against animals.
“The federal government has a provision that you are beaten or killed by a bear, most states have provisions where you can protect yourself, but Florida has decided not to do so,” said Stevens’ lawyer.
Two neighbors, FWC staffers who responded, and a bear biologist spoke on Wednesday.
Evidence presented by the judges included photographs, maps, video from surveillance cameras and even a used gun.
Experts say the black bear has not been killed by a citizen since 2015, when the FWC banned the black bear hunting season.
Five years later, Stevens admitted to investigators that he shot a friend to protect his dog.
“They chased him, tried to get him, ran after him around the yard, coming to me,” Stevens said.
“What did you do first?” Stevens’ lawyer asked.
“Tried to yell at him,” Stevens said.
“The bear stopped?” Stevens’ lawyer asked.
“No. I went inside and grabbed a gun so I could protect myself and my dog, ”Stevens said.
“Is there any particular reason why you didn’t grab a rifle or a deer pistol?” Stevens’ lawyer asked.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to kill, I wanted to scare more,” Stevens said.
A neighbor’s testimony contradicted what Stevens told the court. A neighbor said they heard no barking or shouting before the shots.
An expert in court says it is unlikely that the bears will attack the dog. Experts in court also said the black bear had never killed anyone in Florida.
Neighbors in the estates of the Golden Gate the place was named Bailey the Bear. They even filmed the cub several times.