Eyewitness Account: The Black Bear Attack Was a Horrible Sight to Behold!


A woman identified as Virginia Riggs was was bitten by 400 pound black bear named Abner, while trying to get friendly with it inside the Wildlife Haven Rehab facility.  The victim was brought immediately to the Tampa General Hospital. She was in a fairly stable condition and is resting at the moment according to one of the hospital staff when asked about the patient’s condition.

The incident report said, Briggs went to the rehab, to fetch two pet birds. While touring the rehab facilities with co-owner Beth Ritch, they stopped by a bear cage where the incident happened. Brigs may have gotten too close to bear wanting either to pet it or feed it.

She was lucky another co-owner, John Arche, was there and came to her assistance. He described the attack he saw was really something terrible.

Abner’s cage was thoroughly inspected and was approved by the authorities, before the wildlife facility got the approval to take care of it

Things like this happened due to the “momentary lapse in judgment”, Baryl Martin explained.

A press release can be found on the website of the Wildlife Haven Rehab stating the main objectives of the people behind the organization which are mainly for the purpose of the rescuing, rehabilitation, and releasing of Florida wildlife.

It was also learned that Abner was donated to the facility approximately a year and half before. That would be in the middle of 2013.

Black bears are supposed to be in solitary but under special arrangements, the rule is waived. Black bears are very aggressive animals. There has been an increasing incidents of black bear attacks. They could prove to be fatal.

A recent case involving Kelly Ann Walz who owned a 350 pound black bear who was mauled to death while she cleaning his cage. Her husband was an exotic animals’ dealer with an expired dealer’s license.



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