A Florida lawmaker recently proposed a bill to legalize killing black bears high on crack, according to The Guardian.
Republican Florida state congressman Jason Shoaf’s legislation seeks to remove most penalties for killing bears without authorization, which he says would stop the allegedly drugged animals from entering households and “tearing them apart,” The Guardian reported.
“We’re talking about the ones that are on crack, and they break your door down, and they’re standing in your living room growling and tearing your house apart,” Shoaf reportedly informed the Florida state House’s Infrastructure Strategies Committee during a meeting debating his bill.
“When you run into one of these crack bears, you should be able to shoot it, period. And you shouldn’t have to pause or be afraid you’re gonna get arrested or harassed or pay fines. That’s just crazy,” the legislator added before the committee, the outlet reported.
There are no documented incidents involving a black bear that ingested cocaine in Florida, according to The Guardian’s research. The legislator did not respond to the outlet’s requested clarification. However, Shoaf reportedly said his bill “is not about bears,” adding that animal cruelty and baiting rules would still be in force.
Shoaf clarified that the legislation targets “nuisance bears” threatening humans and pets in neighborhoods, the outlet reported. He reportedly said the bill’s opponents, who argue the legislation would allow killing bears in the absence of a threat, were “fearmongering.”
“We love bears. Bears are cute and cuddly and an amazing creature,” Shoaf staed, according to the Guardian.
The bill was sent to the entire house after a partisan vote in the committee passed it, the outlet reported. Wildlife advocacy group One Protest created an online petition against Shoaf’s legislation, which had attained nearly 20,000 signatures at the time of writing.
“These bills open the door for people to claim self-defense in instances where bears are not a threat,” the petition stated.