Man charged in black bear's death
Wildlife official discusses death investigation
3600 block of 18th Avenue S.E.
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — A Golden Gate Estates man was arrested by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials and charged with killing a black bear near his home on Monday night.
Ryan G. Toranzo, 25, of the 3600 block of 18th Avenue Southeast, was charged with a felony count of killing or wounding a threatened species, a felony count of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in a public place.
Toranzo confessed to pursuing the bear in his truck after the animal got into a “tussle” with his dog near his Estates home and shooting at the bear with a pistol, said FWC spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.
Ferraro said there was evidence the bear was run over multiple times, but a cause of death has not been determined. Bears are protected under state law and residents should avoid conflicts with the animals, she said.
Ferraro said pet food and garbage should not be left outdoors at residences because they can attract bears.
Authorities discovered a dead bear after responding to a call of “shots fired” Monday night in a quiet Golden Gate Estates neighborhood.
Collier County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 3600 block of 18th Avenue S.E. after 10:20 p.m. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials will investigate the cause of death.
"When we got on scene, we discovered a bear had been shot," said CCSO Sgt. Ron Mosbach, who confirmed that the bear died.
Mosbach added that no one has been taken into custody .
FWC Lt. Mark Mahoney arrived after midnight and said he could not confirm if the bear had been shot or even the cause of death.
However, Mahoney said investigators are questioning neighbors.
Mahoney said the bear had been recently killed and was found deep inside of a vacant lot full of brush.
"It was very well covered in brush and dirt," he said. "At this point it's pretty difficult to determine if a shot was fired, and if the bear was even hit."
Mahoney said the forensic side of the investigation takes the lead.
To help the investigation, Mahoney said CCSO's Crime Scene Investigation Unit was helping to process the scene.
After they're done, the bear will transported by FWC and a biologist will conduct a necropsy to determine cause of death.
Mahoney said no one had been taken into custody and that the investigation was ongoing.
In 2009, a San Carlos Park man was arrested after shooting a black bear in his backyard and charged with a third-degree felony for shooting an endangered species. The charge carries a maximum five-year sentence in prison.
Kevin Michael Doerr, 40, pleaded guilty in the San Carlos Park bear shooting in exchange for a plea deal of two years probation and a $500 donation to a wildlife conservation fund.