Citizens Sue Tregembo Animal Park Over Bears’ Miserable Plight

N.C. Residents Want Bears Transferred From Tiny Roadside Zoo Enclosures to a Spacious Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Wilmington, N.C. – Today, North Carolina residents Caroline Byrd and Lorraine Moe filed a lawsuit against Tregembo Animal Park alleging that the Wilmington roadside zoo’s treatment of the bears Ben and Booger violates North Carolina’s anti-cruelty statute. The plaintiffs seek to have both bears moved to a reputable animal sanctuary.

North Carolina law requires that captive animals be free from unjustifiable pain and suffering, which, for bears, includes access to space to roam and the ability to engage in natural types of behavior, such as foraging, climbing, nesting, exploring, denning, and digging—none of which Ben and Booger can do at Tregembo Animal Park. There, they’re confined to enclosures that are less than 0.0004 percent of the minimum territory that a bear would cover in nature, the functional equivalent of forcing a human to live in a small closet.

The lawsuit points out that neither bear has sufficient relief from public harassment or the summer heat. Booger paces repeatedly—a symptom of mental anguish caused by deprivation and distress—and the park has failed to provide Ben with appropriate veterinary care for severe facial lesions that have left him with scarring on both corneas, causing visual impairment.

“Tregembo Animal Park is inflicting unjustifiable physical pain and psychological torment on sensitive bears,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA joins concerned North Carolinians in urging the facility to move these poor animals to a reputable sanctuary where they’d receive the care they desperately need.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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