published Monday, April 14th, 2014

After woman mauled, officials kill 5 bears in Florida

LAKE MARY, Fla. — After a bear mauled a woman in the driveway of her suburban Florida home, dragging her four feet before she escaped, wildlife officials said Monday that they had killed five of the animals, who had become dangerously accustomed to humans.

It was unclear whether the bear that attacked Terri Frana, 45, on Saturday was one of those killed. DNA and other tests will be done on the five animals — one shot and four euthanized — in an attempt to determine that, officials said. .

Frana, 45, said the bear had her head in its mouth and dragged her about 4 feet toward a wooded area.

"She opened her jaw and clamped down onto my head, and I could just hear her teeth marks," Frana told WFTV-TV.

She managed to escape from the bear's jaw, and then ran inside the house, where she collapsed.

She was treated at a hospital and released.

All five bears were "highly habituated," Florida Fish and Wildlife officer Greg Workman said during a news conference Monday. "They had no fear of humans, making them dangerous bears," he said. "We're erring on the side of public safety."

Lake Mary is an upscale community about halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach. Workman called that the entire area in and around Lake Mary "prime bear country."

"We're going to be out here until we feel that the area is safe from these bears," he said.

In December, a woman was attacked by bears while walking her dogs in Longwood, about five miles from Lake Mary. She suffered facial injuries and was hospitalized.

Frana was afraid the bears were going after her two young children Saturday evening, said her husband, Frank Frana.

Her 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son had just left the house Saturday night when she saw five bears scurry toward the garage. She walked down the driveway to look for her children.

"One of the bears stood up, knocked her down, and started to maul her," Frank Frana said. "She has 30 staples in her head, 10 stitches in her head, lacerations, and claw marks on her back."

Neighbors said that they are worried for their safety and that they've recently spotted several bears in the area.

Experts say this is the time of the year when bears leave their winter dens.

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