Residents of Magnolia Plantation neighborhood in Lake Mary are on edge after a bear attacked a family pet.
Mark and Connie Gellner said their chocolate lab, Dakota, was attacked early Tuesday evening. They had let the dog go outside around 6:30 p.m., and minutes later it was heard yelping and barking. Dakota had received deeps cuts on the snout which required multiple stitches. The dog was not on a leash at the time of the attack. The same bear was seen dragging trash and dog food from a open garage (as seen in the accompanying picture).
Magnolia Plantation is a gated community close to wooded areas, and resident have reported seeing bears in yards and around homes for months.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said they do not intend to set a trap at this time. They believe the bear which attacked the dog was a sow that was overly protective of her cubs. FWC said bears are preparing for the winter and that residents should be mindful of their presence by sealing up trash, locking up family pets and keeping garage doors and sheds closed.
According to FWC, Florida black bears are not true hibernators. Instead, they experience what is often called "winter lethargy" or "denning." Males and females that are not pregnant may den in dense vegetation for only a few weeks or a month. Pregnant females will den for the entire winter.
The breeding season for black bears runs from June to July. Bears have a unique breeding adaptation that is called "delayed implantation." The egg is fertilized in the summer but does not implant in the uterine wall until November or early December. Birth occurs in late January. Gestation is approximately 7 months. The delay in gestation is approximately 5 months and true gestation is approximately 8 weeks. A black bear usually has between 1 to 5 cubs.