Woman arrested for feeding black bears released from jail

SEBRING, Fla. - An 81-year-old woman accused of repeatedly feeding wild bears in violation of a judge's orders has bonded out of jail.

Mary Musselman, a retired gym teacher from Sebring, was charged Thursday on probation violation charges, according to Highlands County Jail. Friday, a judge set her bond at $12,000, which she posted before getting released.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers arrested Musselman Jan. 29. The agency says it had to euthanize a wild black bear last year that she fed continuously, causing the animal to lose its fear of people and interrupting its natural instincts. She continued to feed the bear despite FWC giving her educational videos, instructing her in person and giving her pamphlets.

She refused to stop, even after receiving a warning Nov. 8, according to the agency. Officers returned later that month and found that she'd been feeding two more bears. In December, a judge ordered her to stop feeding all wild animals and told officers to check her home weekly.

She returned to court in late December and admitted to feeding two to three more bears large amounts of food.

The judge found her guilty of two counts of feeding wildlife and placed her on probation for a year with weekly visits from officers.

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