Bear Cub Crying and Distressed, PETA Calls for Feds to Move In on Roadside Zoo

Visitors Are Allowed Direct Contact With Suffering Animal; Other Serious Apparent Violations of the Law Documented

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Cherokee, N.C.

An approximately 3-month-old brown-bear cub being used for photo ops at Cherokee Bear Zoo in Cherokee endlessly paces while growling and crying for attention, angrily stomps her hind legs, and urinates on herself—all signs of extreme stress, according to a recognized bear expert. Because the cub is displaying obvious signs of distress and being forced into photo ops with visitors to the roadside zoo (making the animal a prime candidate for biting someone), today PETA sent an urgent complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking the agency to investigate immediately and cite and fine Cherokee Bear Zoo for any violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“This bear cub, who should still be with her mother, and other animals at the roadside zoo are clearly suffering, and it’s time that someone be held accountable,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The only hope this cub has is for the federal government to enforce the minimal laws that exist to prevent the type of daily suffering going on at Cherokee Bear Zoo.”

Other cases of apparent animal neglect witnessed and documented at Cherokee Bear Zoo include an iguana who has fungus growing on him, a dirty pool as the only apparent water source for bears, and bears forced to live on wet concrete, which can result in painful foot cracks.

In 2012, the roadside zoo was cited for failing to provide an unvaccinated 3- to 4-month-old tiger cub with adequate veterinary care, putting the underweight animal at risk of contracting potentially fatal diseases. Just this past February, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited and fined Cherokee Bear Zoo for multiple violations of federal laws protecting workers, following a complaint from PETA. Specifically, it was cited for allowing workers to come into direct contact with bears during feeding and cage-cleaning as well as with caustic bleach with no eye or face protection. The roadside zoo received five citations and was ordered to pay a $3,120 fine.

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