Action Follows Tip From PETA That News Team Entered Bear’s Enclosure
For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Myakka City, Fla. – After PETA submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stating that a WZVN-TV news crew entered an enclosure with a 300-pound bear named Carroll at Bearadise Ranch, just-released documents reveal that the agency recently slapped the roadside zoo’s owner, Monica Welde, with a “critical” citation and an official warning for allegedly violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The USDA inspection report notes that the news crew entered the enclosure, the camera operator petted Carroll on the head, and both the reporter and the camera operator fed her honey. According to the report, “At no time was there a physical barrier present or a physical method of constraint strong enough to protect the public members from harm.”
“Considering all the stress this 300-pound bear has endured already, allowing a news crew to touch and feed her could have turned deadly,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA will continue to keep a close eye on this seedy outfit, whether its exploits happen behind closed doors or wind up on the local news.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) also slapped Welde with a misdemeanor citation over the same incident following a tip from PETA. The FWC had previously warned her for a violation of the state’s captive wildlife laws after she forced Carroll to perform as a ring bearer during a wedding ceremony. Just last year, the USDA cited Welde after her traveling show, Bears of Bearadise Ranch, unleashed a bear during a performance and later failed to stop the animal from running across the arena while members of the public were still nearby.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.