A retired teacher was arrested after she repeatedly ignored a judge's order to stop feeding black bears in back yard. When police officers arrived at her home to arrest her, the 81-year-old reportedly threatened to kill them.
Mary Musselman has been illegally feeding bears in the yard of her Sebring, Florida home since at least early 2013; at some point in the year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission euthanized a bear she'd repeatedly fed with dog food out of concern that the bear had become dangerously comfortable around humans.
"Feeding bears results in bears losing their fear of people," Gary Morse, an FWC spokesperson, told ABC Action News, adding that his department went the "extra mile" to educate Musselman about the dangers of feeding bears. Still, she refused to stop, telling police that she was worried the bears wouldn't survive without her help.
FWC officers returned to her home in November to find that she was regularly feeding at least two bears. "We are talking about putting out as many as 17 or 18 bowls of dog food," Morse said.
Officers gave her more information, including educational videos. Again, she failed to heed their warnings. Then, on December 6, she was summoned to court where a judge ordered her to stop and placed her on probation.
Two weeks later, she returned to court, where she again admitted to feeding the bears. A week later, after officers found further evidence of beer feeding, the judge ordered her arrest.
Mussleman reportedly threatened to kill the FWC officers who arrived at her home and resisted arrest.
She's currently in jail facing charges of violating parole and battery on a lawman, and is being held without bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 3.
"I think it is outrageous," Karron Tedder, Musselman's former student, told ABC Action News. "This is out of her character to act as she did."