Alaskan bear cubs found more than 3,600 miles away from home in FLORIDA were ‘crammed into a 200-square-foot chain-link enclosure’ by exotic animal smuggler who faces 11 charges
A pair of Alaskan cubs were recently found wandering a dark Florida street — and the man who ‘illegally’ imported them is facing nearly a dozen charges.
Shae Hensley, 53, housed the Kodiak bears on a property in Baker, which were “crammed into a 10-by-20-foot chain link enclosure.”
Hensley told the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office that he forgot to lock the gate one night, allowing the animals to escape – they are now being held at the Panama City Zoo.
Hensley faces 11 counts of illegally importing the bears without obtaining a permit, failing to report the cubs’ escape and obtaining the animals without proper enclosure.
PETA told DailyMail.com that it notified wildlife officials in October, telling them that Hensley had obtained the cubs illegally from a zoo in New Jersey.
Shae Hensley, 53, is facing 11 counts of illegally importing two native cubs from Alaska to Florida without obtaining a permit, failing to report the cubs’ escape and obtaining the animals without the proper fence
The cubs were “crammed into a 10-by-20-foot chain-link enclosure” when Hensley forgot to lock the gate one night, he told Okaloosa County officials
The PETA Foundation’s director of captive animal law enforcement, Michelle Sinnott, said: ‘If the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) had acted on PETA’s tip in October, these exploited bears would never have escaped in the middle of the night do not have.’
Hensley was also cautioned for having improper enclosures for other animals, including foxes, skunks and raccoons.
The bears made headlines this month after police in Florida released body camera footage showing two cubs wandering down a dark street at 3:30 a.m.
Authorities assumed the animals were black bears, but an investigation by FWC proved the cubs’ home was more than 3,600 miles away.
However, a closer look at the size and coloration revealed that the animals were not native to Florida.
According to an incident report obtained by WEARHensley told FWC he had licenses for the bears from when he got them in February 2023.
A pair of Alaskan cubs were found wondering a back road in Florida, sparking an investigation into why the animals were more than 3,600 miles from home
The bears made headlines this month after Florida police released body camera footage showing two cubs wandering down a dark street at 3:30 a.m.
PETA notified FWC in October that Hensley had the help of New York roadside zoo owner Larry Wallach, who gave the Florida resident his license to import the bears.
The bears are believed to be from Space Farms Zoo in Sussex, New Jersey.
PETA’s investigation of Hensley revealed that he had several exotic animals, such as two Patagonian caves, a young kangaroo, several ostriches and a water buffalo.
Wallach was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2022 for housing baby sloths in unapproved facilities and failing to provide inspectors with a written program of veterinary care.
But Wallach denied involvement in the Kodiak bear case.
Hensley’s name is linked to a company called Kodiak Productions and Animal Actors LLC that was incorporated on February 18, 2023.
The address shows a place littered with animal enclosures that house birds and other creatures in the backyard.
WEAR reports Hensley’s property has been listed for sale and the premises associated with Kodiak Productions and Animal Actors LLC are currently on the market.
Hensley’s name is linked to a company called Kodiak Productions and Animal Actors LLC that was incorporated on February 18, 2023
The address shows a place littered with animal enclosures that house birds and other creatures in the backyard
Okaloosa County is located in the Florida Panhandle, which is home to black bears.
While most people may not know the difference, black bears and Kodiak bears look very different.
Kodiak bears are much larger and weigh up to 1,500 pounds while black bears weigh up to 600 pounds.
The Alaskan native animal is typically brown in color, while black bears can be found with brown, cinnamon and black fur.
The body camera footage begins with two officers getting out of their vehicle to meet a resident who made the call.
Hensley reportedly had the help of New York roadside zoo owner Larry Wallach (pictured), who gave the Florida resident his license to import the bears. Wallach was cited for housing baby sloths in unapproved locations
The two cubs wandered in the middle of the street as officers flashed lights on the road.
“They want food or something,” the citizen told officers. “They are clearly domesticated.”
The footage shows the man petting the cubs – and the animals also tried to jump into the patrol vehicle parked on the side of the road.
“I believe they are brown,” said the man as he fed the cubs.
“They are not black bears.”
The officers speculated that the cubs could be grizzly or brown bears.
‘It’s like they’re not afraid of people. They’ll walk up to people and let you pet them,’ an officer told the helmsman, who replied: ‘The shenanigans at 3.30am.’