Update (September 21, 2023): After years of languishing at the notorious roadside zoo known as Pymatuning Deer Park, Bosco the bear and Sissy the cougar died at the facility. Despite PETA’s fierce efforts to get them to a reputable sanctuary, these animals never had the opportunity to live free from exploitation.
We did everything we could to help Bosco and the other animals at Pymatuning. In 2021, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and PETA filed a lawsuit against the facility, prompting it to retire birds, lemurs, and three big cats to accredited sanctuaries. The facility also moved Bosco from the virtually barren concrete pit in which he’d been suffering for years to a former big-cat enclosure. Even though he was able to spend the last year of his life in a slightly less miserable enclosure, he deserved better.
Animals are still trapped at Pymatuning Deer Park, and it’s past time that the facility shut down permanently. Click here to take action.
Originally posted on March 23, 2016:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hit notorious roadside zoo Pymatuning Deer Park in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, with an official warning for more than a dozen violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) found during six inspections of the facility in 2015—including confining visibly ailing bears to concrete pits, with no opportunities to swim, climb, dig, den, or engage in other natural behaviors. The warning, the first ever for confining bears to concrete pits, informs Pymatuning that any further violation of the AWA may result in fines, criminal prosecution, or other sanctions.
Other AWA violations noted in the USDA’s official warning include Pymatuning’s repeated failure to clean up animals’ waste, failure to maintain a current veterinary program, and failure to have a sufficient number of adequately trained employees—among many other issues.
This official warning shows, yet again, that Pymatuning Deer Park either can’t or won’t provide bears and other animals with the most basic care. PETA is calling for this ramshackle roadside zoo to send these neglected animals to proper sanctuaries where they’d have the space and the veterinary care that they desperately need.
The USDA previously promised to offer training sessions and issue new policy statements, factsheets, and technical notes to ensure that bears are better protected under current AWA regulations in response to our petition for bear-specific standards in the AWA. However, the agency has yet to follow through and has not devised any new regulations banning bear pits.
What You Can Do
It’s too late for Bosco and Sissy, but the other animals still trapped at Pymatuning Deer Park need your help. Tell the facility to retire all remaining animals to reputable facilities:
You can help animals at places like Pymatuning by staying away from all roadside zoos and other cruel captive-animal displays.