On Thursday morning, Toby McIntire posted a video to Facebook of a black bear walking from house-to-house in his Florida neighborhood this week.
He alerted his neighbors with a sign on his mailbox warning that black bears are around.
The bear stops when it sees easy access to food, like trash scattered on the driveway.
“He doesn’t bother anybody. Just goes from house to house. He might look at ya, but he’s got food on his mind,” McIntire said. He called wildlife officials Thursday out of concern for the children who play in the neighborhood or may unfortunately answer the door.
A wildlife officer said homeowners could be cited for unintentionally feeding bears by leaving out garbage cans. State wildlife officials said they are going to start going after homeowners when bears get too close to homes.
Since a new rule went into effect in August, Florida Fish and Wildlife gives out a warning first. If the problem continues, it becomes a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries up to a $500 fine and possible jail time.
The penalty increases with each offense. After the fourth offense, it becomes a felony.
McIntire said he doesn’t want to get his neighbors in trouble, but wants bears to stop finding buffets in their yard. He thinks the bears are coming from the wooded area behind a nearby cemetery, which is less than a mile from his house. The fence is broken, he said.