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USDA Finds Pitiful Conditions at N.C. Bear Pits

Written by PETA | December 2, 2010

This is pitiful: The USDA recently cited two bear exhibits (Cherokee, North Carolina’s Chief Saunooke Bear Park and Cherokee Bear Zoo) for gross violations of the Animal Welfare Act—again.

According to newly released USDA inspection reports, Chief Saunooke Bear Park was cited for failing to provide veterinary care to bears suffering from diarrhea and for feeding bears moldy, wilted food. The Cherokee Bear Zoo was cited for failing to provide veterinary care to a grizzly bear whose hair had been falling out for weeks.

Both facilities were also cited for hazardous cage conditions, such as exposure to electrical outlets and sharp, protruding metal that could cause injury. Uh, yeah, and what about keeping miserable animals with sharp teeth in captivity and letting kids get close to them?! In July, a 9-year-old girl was bitten by a bear at Chief Saunooke Bear Park.

After the incident, PETA erected a billboard featuring a little girl with a bloody bandage around her hand and the words “Warning: Children Bitten at Bear Pits. Bear Prisons: Dangerous for Children.”

We’ve long complained that these unaccredited zoos prisons are unsuitable because they deny bears proper exercise, social interaction, and the ability to hibernate. Please help us close Cherokee’s cruel bear pits by sending a personalized message to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ tourism agency.

Written by Heather Moore

Commenting is closed.
  • A Parent says:

    What kind of parent would do this to their child. I think the chief and the parents need to be punished for his one.

  • VioletYoshi says:

    How about a billboard saying, “Only bad parents, expose their children to wild caged animals up close. Don’t visit bear pits, want everyone to know you find risking your kids’ lives entertainment?”

  • tpl says:

    iam from Cherokee and I AM SO ASHAMED OF THIS. this has been an ongoing issue in my community for a long time. im ready for KOLE CLAPPSADDLE TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES AND FOR THE PARKS TO BE SHUT DOWN. this breaks the locals’ hearts.

  • James says:

    Gratitude for bringing this issue to light. And to all of the people involved in bringing an end to this sad situation, the same.

  • REC says:

    From what I have heard, animal abuse laws are not very good in NC. As part Native American, I am totally ashamed that this is going on – Hope someone can get to the owners home also. Thanks to all who are working on this Case

  • brian says:

    The only way anyone should be around wild game is hunting or population studies. Good thing for kids to do to stay out of trouble and wild game like bears do not get over crowded. No animal should put in a cage to look at.

  • claremoseby says:

    Saunooke Park is owned by Kole Clapsaddle, 3180 N. River Rd Webster, NC 28788. Mr Clapsaddle has kept abused animals at that ;location including a Llama that died from an untreated infection resulting from a severed ureter. Currently there may be mistreated animals at that location.

  • Mama Grizzly says:

    The owner, Kole Clapsaddle, also has maintained abused animals at his home 3180 N. River Rd Webster, NC 28788

  • Gala says:

    Why do people continually think that caged animals are safe for public viewing? If you can’t care for the animals under your supervision, it’s no wonder when they act out.

  • Dan says:

    Tourists could feed the bears! I want to know how a child managed to get close enough to the bear to be bitten. I have never been to a zoo where you can touch the animals!

  • Willow says:

    To Mat- These bears should not be imprisoned in the first place! That’s the whole point, which it seems you may have missed.

  • mat says:

    they should just put those bears down when they catch them. then we wouldnt have to worry about little kids getting bitten.

  • wendy says:

    No bear or child should suffer such a traumatic experience. UNSAFE!! CLOSE IT DOWN!!

  • Kent Vella says:

    Free your bears….these animals are not yours!

  • s sureck says:

    This is animal cruelty & Abuse. Both of these places of inhumane torture need to be shut down. Now. This is a travesty for the animals, these bears are suffering all kinds of deprivation. Please close these places down! AnimalActionUSA

  • niml rts says:

    This is disgusting and intolerable for the bears participating. Why can’t there be a law to stop these abuses? No other state is involved in this blood sport. Crush videos were stopped, why not this?