'Crack Bears Do Not Exist': FL Democrats Poke Fun at Lawmaker Targeting Bears High on Crack

'Crack Bears Do Not Exist': FL Democrats Poke Fun at Lawmaker Targeting Bears High on Crack

A Republican Lawmaker is no longer claiming that "crack bears" are terrorizing the state, causing Dems to poke fun

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
February 16, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—A Republican Lawmaker is no longer targeting Florida's "crack bears" in his bill allowing people to kill bears in self-defense. On the House Floor Thursday, the sponsor explained his bill is meant to protect families against all bears on their property—not just ones high on crack.

Last week, The Guardian reported that Republican Rep. Jason Shoaf claimed that black bears high on crack are breaking into people’s homes and “tearing them apart”. “When you run into one of these crack bears, you should be able to shoot it, period. And you shouldn’t have to pause or be afraid you’re gonna get arrested or harassed or pay fines. That’s just crazy," He said last week in the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee.

This week, Democrats stressed that "crack bears do not exist", and that the popular movie Cocaine Bear—following a murderous, cocaine-loving black bear—is "not a documentary".

Rep. Shoaf explained that his bill is actually designed to "codify into law that we are able to defend ourselves and our family and our pets and the dwelling in which we reside from a bear if we feel that they are an imminent threat," Shoaf said, making no mention of crack bears on the House Floor Thursday afternoon.

"The bill allows you to be able to use lethal force if you pull up to your house one night and you see a 400-pound black bear clawing at the door, trying to get in, busting the window out...Without this, you cannot use lethal force. All you can do is blow a whistle, spray it with mace, jump up and down, and then call FWC and hope that they're able to be there," He explained.

The Florida black bear is the only bear type in the state. In 1974, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) classified them as a threatened species, after unregulated bear hunting caused the population to drop below 500. They were declassified in 2012 with a population of around 4,000.

Under the Florida Constitution, the FWC has full regulatory and executive powers concerning wild animal life, freshwater aquatic life, and marine life. "They are the judge, jury, and executioner," Shoaf said. "We can't write any laws that would deal with the population of bears or ways to hunt them or not hunt them,"

Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron strongly opposed the legislation, citing little data being used to back up the bill.

"Deliberate murder should not be condoned, and yet this bill does just that. This bill is based on falsely manufactured, non-scientific reasoning coming from what I assume is a group of overly emotional and hysterical people who try not to let facts and science get in the way of what they want to do—which is kill black bears," She said Thursday.

"Crack bears do not exist, we should not be basing bills on movies...Zero people have been killed by black bears in Florida," She added.

"Are you aware that cocaine bear was not a documentary?" Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani asked the bill sponsor.

The bill passed the House Floor in an 88-29 vote.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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