- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) - Three people in central Florida face charges for feeding bears and other wildlife in an area where a woman was mauled by a bear in April.

The charges are second-degree misdemeanors. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, one person in the woman’s Lake Mary neighborhood pleaded not guilty Friday.

Two others in nearby Longwood pleaded no contest and were sentenced to 6 months’ probation, 25 hours of community service and a $200 payment to the commission’s wildlife alert hotline.

After the attack on Terri Frana in her driveway, wildlife authorities killed more than a half-dozen bears that showed signs of being accustomed to human food, either from garbage or human feeding. According to the commission, DNA from one of those bears matched samples collected from Frana’s clothing.

“People who feed bears don’t realize the serious results of their actions,” said Dave Telesco, the commission’s bear management program coordinator. “Feeding bears may reduce their natural fear of people, which can lead to someone getting seriously injured and bears being killed.”

Officials urge people to secure their garbage and avoid leaving pet food or bird seed to sit outside overnight, which might entice bears to approach houses. People also are warned to never intentionally feed a bear.

Frana was bitten on her leg and skull. She was able to run into her house to escape. In the moments before the attack, Frana said there had been five bears in her yard, including two eating out of trash cans.

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