Breaking: Sad, Sick Dillan the Bear Heads Out of Concrete Cell to Sanctuary Home

Under Pressure From All Sides, Union County Sportsmen's Club Finally Releases Mistreated, Morbidly Obese Bear With Severe Dental Disease

For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Millmont, Pa. – Following a vigorous PETA campaign, Dillan—the Asiatic black bear who was held in a cramped concrete-floored cage next to a shooting range at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club without any semblance of a natural life, in addition to being denied vital veterinary care for his deteriorating health—is now finally on his way to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, a PETA-approved and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries–accredited wild animal sanctuary. PETA will be present to welcome him to his new home, and photos and video will be made available.

The move comes just days after actor Alec Baldwin sent a public letter on PETA’s behalf to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf pointing out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had continued to cite the sportsmen’s club for failing to provide Dillan with adequate veterinary care and urging the governor to intervene. Dillan’s surrender was apparently brokered by the USDA and state law-enforcement officials.

“This move comes after years of neglect, but this long-suffering bear now has a chance to eat healthy food, exercise his limbs on soft natural terrain, receive much-needed medical care, and hibernate, forage, and swim as bears need to do,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “The club should be ashamed. We respectfully asked its board to do the right thing, and they reacted like brats.”

PETA’s multifaceted campaign to secure Dillan’s freedom from a miserable nonlife of gross neglect included posting a billboard urging drivers not to stop at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club, running television and radio ads on local stations to alert people to Dillan’s suffering, and sending the roadside zoo bags of coal for Christmas. The group also submitted complaints to the USDA that included photos and video footage documenting that Dillan continued to suffer from hair loss, irritated skin, broken teeth, discolored gums, and significant gum recession, which is evidence of painful, advanced dental disease.

PETA notes that Dillan still has a long road to recovery. To date, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview in which animals are seen as mere commodities—has secured the release of 73 bears from roadside zoos to reputable sanctuaries, along with 41 tigers, 10 chimpanzees, and two baboons. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind