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#1 Hum

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:07

SEBRING, FL - An 81-year-old Sebring woman is behind bars tonight for repeatedly feeding black bears at home after being warned to stop by a judge multiple times.

Mary Musselman, is now facing charges ranging from violating probation to battery on a law enforcement officer.

"I think it is outrageous," said Karron Tedder, Musselman's former student.

In the small town of Sebring, Musselman is well known.  She is a retired gym teacher who worked at the local middle school.

Tedder described her as gentle hearted, sweet and someone who is harmless.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officials told ABC Action News trouble with Musselman began last year when they had to euthanize a black bear she kept feeding.

"Feeding bears results in bears losing their fear of people," explained Gary Morse, FWC spokesperson.

He added that once those behaviors are learned a bear cannot be relocated.  The behaviors interrupt the animal's natural instincts.

Morse said officers 'went the extra mile' to educate Musselman about the dangers of feeding wildlife.  They brought out educational videos, talked with her and left pamphlets.

"She told us she wasn't going to stop," Morse recalled.

And, she didn't.

A judge found her guilty of two counts of feeding wildlife.  She was placed on probation for one year and FWC officers were ordered to visit her home weekly.

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#2 firey

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:12

Good, age shouldn't be a reason for you to disobey a direct order from the law.



#3 Jason Stillion

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:35

I hate to see an elder women punished, but this could lead to a bear that will harm, maul, or kill people. 



#4 zhangm

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:47

Must...resist...

I guess she became unbearable.

#5 Brian M.

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:49

At the end of the day, she refused to follow orders/comply with the law.

#6 DocM

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 16:52

I'm with Jason, her actions were very dangerous and she was warned several times. She forced the hand of the authorities.

#7 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:12

I hate to see an elder women punished, but this could lead to a bear that will harm, maul, or kill people. 

 

Why? Age, once an adult, as no bearing on criminal responsibility.  Not only did she disobey the law AND a judge, she put the lives of everyone in her town at risk AND caused the death of a bear, as it had to be destroyed to protect people.

 

The woman is a an idiot and she's damned lucky the bear didn't decide to attack her. They're unpredictable creatures at best!



#8 +macoman

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:12

If she decided move to a remote location into the jungle with all her beloved bears... can she still broke the law?



#9 Lord Method Man

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:19

What's the maximum age in which people are allowed to be charged with a crime? Asking because it seems we're supposed to be outraged every time there's a story about an elderly person getting in trouble for breaking the law.



#10 Jason Stillion

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:26

Why? Age, once an adult, as no bearing on criminal responsibility.  Not only did she disobey the law AND a judge, she put the lives of everyone in her town at risk AND caused the death of a bear, as it had to be destroyed to protect people.

 

The woman is a an idiot and she's damned lucky the bear didn't decide to attack her. They're unpredictable creatures at best!

 

I believe judgement should be on a case by case basis. I do believe age can be a factor. 

She probably doesn't believe that's she's doing wrong, but I don't disagree about her being punishment by the court.



#11 DocM

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:34

What choice did the court have given her obstinance? She obviously wasn't going to stop otherwise, an that put innocents in danger.

Many people have this misperception that black bears are somehow less aggressive than brown/grizzly bears, but the opposite is true.

#12 OP Hum

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 21:41

I might leave food out for bears too -- although I would be a little less obvious about it.

 

And, at 81, maybe she wants to stay on the good side of the bears. :shifty:



#13 +Nik L

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 21:44

Age is not a defense unless it implies reduced responsibility.  She was told not to do it previously - she chose to ignore than.  Am fine with this.