Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Cherokee Bears: From Bad to Worse

Written by PETA | April 12, 2011

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports we obtained for the Chief Saunooke Bear Park make it clear that conditions for the bears there continue to deteriorate at this already wretched roadside zoo. Chief Saunooke is one of three displays in Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary area of Western North Carolina, where bears are held in barren pits and concrete pens.
 


 

After being cited for not having anyone available in February to allow an inspection, as required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), federal inspectors returned in March and cited the zoo for having cages with rusty, sharp edges; large cracks and crumbling concrete; rotting wood frames; and a pen in which a bear was forced to live with stale, trampled-on bread on the ground next to a pile of feces.

Last year, PETA hand-delivered a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to revoke Chief Saunooke’s exhibitor’s license for endangering the public after a 9-year-old girl was bitten at the park. The USDA is currently investigating this incident.

Please add your voice in calling on federal officials and Cherokee leaders to put an end to the suffering for good.
 

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

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  • sena and david says:

    free the bears at cherokee!!!! its inhumane. they have no say in what youre doing to them. i will help be their voice. that is no way for ANYONE to live. wheres your heart, your sense of compassion?

  • julie says:

    I am so glad PETA has helped the bears in Cherokee, there is more work to be done. There are 3 sites in Cherokee who are housing these bears in concrete. It is animal cruelity and I can not image what brings a human being to treat animals in this way. My check is on it way to PETA. Money is the only way to stop the abuse of the animals.

  • julie says:

    I am so glad PETA has helped the bears in Cherokee, there is more work to be done. There are 3 sites in Cherokee who are housing these bears in concrete. It is animal cruelity and I can not image what brings a human being to treat animals in this way. My check is on it way to PETA. Money is the only way to stop the abuse of the animals.

  • Craig L says:

    $ talks. Has anyone tried offering to buy these bears from these evil people. Surely there can’t be a lot of money in the pathetic exploitation of these poor animals.

  • jaki lucas says:

    come on usa u can stop this sick and evil treatment of these beautiful majestic creatures i have loved bears since i watched grizzly adams as a child i wish i cud do something for these bears

  • Mah says:

    NO MORE CAGES FOR ANIMALS OF ANY SPIECIES !!!!

  • Beverley Holden says:

    Again cannot understand this kind of treatment of Animals… This would not be allowed in the UK, so why is it allowed the USA, disgusting..I am loosing respect for the uSA allowing this to go on one minute longer…

  • pj56 says:

    I will sign a petition to raise concern, but what else can I do to help? My mother and I have donated to the Foundation for the Crazy Horse Memorial. Knowing that they do things like this, we will not support this Foundation any longer. Please post this to them; maybe it will wake them up that there are people who are going to stop donating to their causes if they do not stop their cruel bear displays.

  • Petra Paleocrassas says:

    This HAS to stop. It is cruel and totally unncessary and what astounds me is that this is happening in a country that most DEFINITELY should KNOW BETTER.

  • lisa says:

    I am horrified that is allowed to carry on after the recent inspection, for such a big Country like America and you still let these poor animals suffer???? i think you have a lot to learn from the smaller Countries such as Bolivia and Serbia they actually protect and help animals. The evidence is there and still the USDA do nothing and turn their backs on them.

  • Omie says:

    This is horrible and deplorable, place the bears in a wildlife sanctuary. They don’t deserve to suffer like that!

  • Maria Lopez says:

    Me and my family have stop going to any zoo because of this kind of incidents. Pls help the bears any any animals suffering in the hand of men. It is unacceptable.

  • kristen chen says:

    STOP THIS INHUMANITY!!

  • SherrieStewart says:

    How can I help these bears?? What can I do!!!!

  • bulldog says:

    save these bears

  • dee fritts says:

    Enough with the cruelty. Please send these bears to a sanctuary. This is no way for an animal to live. This is a prison but these animals have done no crimes. Why are they being treated this way?

  • dilek demirel says:

    please stop this cruelty..

  • John Roig says:

    I’ve been in this area quite a few times over the years as I hike in the Smokys at least once a year. These side shows are horrid, callously indifferent exploitations of an animal whose only misfortune is to occupy the same time-space of the ascent of the human species. I’ve seen live, free-roaming bears on several occasions during my hikes – and they always turn tail; a habit that obviously serves them best. I avoid patronizing anything is the somewhat garish Cherokee community to begin with but would reconsider strongly if the community came together to ban this barbarous exploitation. The difference between these bears and the ones in the woods is almost unrecognizable. I am only one soul – but I bleed (in heart and in my battered feet) with these bears. Keep up the good work…

  • Michelle King says:

    I am ashamed to be Cherokee after watching such horrible treatment of such a noble animal. How can the Cherokee Nation justify such obvious torture? Please investigate this fully, as I’m sure that anyone who witnessed this for themselves would not be able to allow it to go on.

  • John A. says:

    Let these bears go!

  • Arhiman says:

    come on suckers. kill your self, instead of killing innocent animals. cowards.

  • jodydon'tknow says:

    I don’t believe it, is this for real???? It is actually an Indian chief doing this. Chief Saunooke, your people must be in shame due to you. Are you not one with the animals, at one with nature, at one with mother earth and her spirits……..YOU shame me………

  • AUDREYSMESS says:

    WHY oh why ! over and over – were are the law’s – should put politician’sin these condition and see how they like it – humans are thye animals.

  • AP says:

    It’s time for man to stop being so ignorant. It’s disgusting already!!

  • jburger says:

    Lord Have Mercy prayers for these animals as well as gen.1 stewards of Creation (thanks be to GOD) >.

  • PSL says:

    Please help these bears. Close this inhumane zoo and send the animals to a sanctuary.

  • PSL says:

    Please help these bears. Close this inhumane zoo and send the animals to a sanctuary.

  • Teresa Echeverría says:

    Just put end to the suffering. You are really able to make the difference… Thanks a lot.

  • gill morrison says:

    Being human does not make your actions humane. That is a conscious choice, and not the easiest in our disposable culture.

  • gill morrison says:

    Being human does not make your actions humane. That is a conscious choice, and not the easiest in our disposable culture.

  • tokyoval says:

    This should not be allowed to continue

  • Susan Hill says:

    Please intervene to allow these creatures to live with the dignity they deserve!

  • Irka says:

    These animals shouldn’t be imprisoned. Roadside shows should be outlawed.

  • Joshua Stead says:

    My name is Joshua Stead I am 20 years of age and currently live in England I am extremely horrified and disgusted by the lack of respect shown to the lives of numerous intelligent and affectionate bears confined in horrific, barren and extremely un-sanitary conditions for so called public entertainment in Cherokee. These magnificent, highly intelligent animals that are capable of a wide range of feelings, such as empathy, fear, joy, and playfulness are deprived of everything that is natural to them. Dumped in what are known as ‘Bear Pitts’ or barren cages, neurotic, hungry bears pace back and forth, walk in endless circles, cry, whimper, fight with one another, and beg tourists to toss them a morsel of food. I know that anyone with a heart will not rest until this cruel and sinful happening is abolished forever. When confined to barren enclosures without room to roam and with no opportunity to express natural behaviour or make choices about their daily routines, bears quickly become stressed, frustrated, and bored. They often develop neurotic behaviour. Captivity-induced neurotic behaviour–such as pacing, circling, head-tossing, and begging–is common in the captive-bear exhibits in Cherokee. Please sir I beg you to be a so much needed voice for these intelligent and defenceless animals. I urge you to put an end to the extreme levels of stress and frustration that these intelligent bears are subjected to in Cherokee. I beg you to close the bear pits at Cherokee and transfer these magnificent animals to a reputable sanctuary where they will receive 24 hour care being allowed to live out the rest of their lives free from fear, pain and suffering. Please do the right thing.

  • Marty P. says:

    Move these bears to a better zoo. Letting them go free in their natural habitat would be ideal, but I’m sure they can not be free to roam in the wild after so many years of captivity.

  • M. Belanger says:

    How can this even be happening. I felt like crying watching this video. All living beings need way more space than this to grow, move around and thrive. They should not be stressed out and depressed. The people who are putting these animals through this are murderers because, this is not quality life for them and they will soon die. Would you want to live under these conditions? Have some compassion and humanity for these innocent animals, they need love and proper care, excersize room to roam and the right kind of safety and diet. This really breaks my heart to see and something needs to be done about this immediately!!!

  • laura jacobone says:

    why should bears be held in cages? they should be free !!!

  • Timothy Apwisch says:

    This is deplorable ! Shut them down immediately! Whoever is running this awefull animal abuse is a disgace!!!!

  • Melissa Sidney says:

    I feel so sorry for these poor bears. It isn’t fair to them.

  • Mary F. says:

    Please stop these roadside zoos!!!

  • Pernilla Westerlund says:

    Give them a good place to live at and let them live the good life

  • Pernilla Westerlund says:

    Give them a good place to live at and let them live the good life

  • charmaine settle says:

    STOP THE CRUELTY AND REVOKE THE LICENSE OF THE 3 BEAR EXHIBITS IN NORTH CAROLINA!

  • Christin says:

    Yogi-Bear would cry I think. Why this zoo has so many bears? Are there any people, who work and feed them? I always feel bad to see animals suffering like that :-( they are crying of hunger, lonelyness and of beeing caged. Hope PETA can help to free them

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