SANFORD – A Longwood-area man who opened his door one day and was slapped by a bear pleaded no contest Tuesday to feeding wildlife and was fined $200 and placed on six months probation.First of all, even feeding stray cats is wrong. It encourages them to multiply and then they bother all of the neighbors. Trust me--I've got a neighbor who does that and Lagniappe and I are both sick of seeing those cats in OUR yard. But this jackass clearly knew the bears were about--his neighbors said they saw him messing with them before--and he still kept putting food out. Now the bear's dead and this jerkwater won't man up and admit to doing what everyone knows he was doing. And can someone explain why emergency crews had to transport him to the hospital for a scratched face? This loser actually insisted on going in an ambulance for that instead of just getting in his car or riding in someone else's? He's got to be a liberal, because he's showing absolutely no sense of personal responsibility. He's probably still got Obama stickers in his car.
Ernest Stamm, 49, had been ticketed for feeding bears.
He lives in The Springs, a heavily-wooded community near Wekiva Springs State Park.
He called for help Dec. 10 and told authorities he opened his door and something swiped him across the face.
When emergency crews arrived, they found a black bear in his yard. Once the animal left, Stamm was taken to an Altamonte Springs hospital, where he was treated for cuts to his face and released.
Defense attorney David Oliver on Tuesday said Stamm required several stitches to his eye and cheek. He has recovered fully, Oliver said.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the bear the next day and euthanized it. That angered Stamm's neighbors.
The animal was a female who left behind two cubs who were old enough to survive on their own, the commission reported.
Stamm said little at Tuesday's hearing, except to answer questions from Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson.
"Ernest Stamm, is this what you want to do?" the judge asked.
"Yes," said Stamm, who operates an auto detailing business.
He pleaded no contest, agreed to pay a $200 fine, make a $250 contribution to a wildlife fund and serve six months of probation.
Stamm did not admit to breaking the law. His attorney said Stamm did not intend to feed bears. He and a neighbor were feeding feral cats that had been spayed and neutered, and it's that food that attracted the bear, Oliver said.
But Joy Hill, a commission spokeswoman, said neighbors told authorities they saw Stamm interact with bears.
The commission wrote Stamm a ticket a week after he was injured. Investigators had found the food that was intended for cats, as well as rotisserie chicken containers, Hill said.
It's a misdemeanor to intentionally or unintentionally feed wildlife, Hill said. That's because once a wild animal comes to expect food from humans, it loses its fear of them and can become a nuisance or threat.
"Nobody wins," she said. "If it causes problems like this, the bear dies."
He should have been fined more or given a few weeks of community service, because from this story, he clearly doesn't get it and I doubt that he's going to change his ways and stop feeding the bears or even the feral cats that no one else wants in the neighborhood. But hey--it's all about him, don't you just know?