Gov. Kasich Nabs PETA Award for Signing ‘Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act’

13 Bears Go From Decrepit Backyard Cages and Roadside Zoos to a Spacious Colorado Sanctuary, Thanks to New Law

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Columbus, Ohio

Since Gov. John Kasich signed the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law, dozens of animals—including 13 bears, four of whom came from the notorious Stump Hill Farm in Massillon—have been surrendered to the Ohio Department of Agriculture from backyard cages and roadside zoos because their owners had failed to comply with the new law’s animal-welfare and public-safety regulations.

PETA has teamed up with The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado to move the 13 bears there. At the sanctuary, the long-neglected bears will have the freedom to roam acres of land, forage, and den—and while bear cubs in roadside zoos are commonly torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, the two bears who were pregnant when relocated will now be able to raise and keep their cubs, likely for the first time. For making the bears’ journey possible, Gov. Kasich will receive a Helping Captive Wildlife Award from PETA.

“Thanks to Governor Kasich’s John Hancock and the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s action, these bears will finally be able to live like bears again,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA asks families to steer clear of any tourist trap that displays bears in barren cages or concrete pits.”

Some of the surrendered bears were underweight, some were obese, and some suffered from intestinal parasites. One bear, Sweet Baby, was found extremely thin inside a tiny cage in a barn. All four bears from Stump Hill had broken teeth, and two of them were declawed. The facility has a history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including by denying adequate veterinary care to multiple sick or injured animals and illegally declawing a tiger. In May, Ohio authorities seized 10 animals from Stump Hill: five tigers, two cougars, two baboons, and a chimpanzee who had been held in solitary confinement.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has rescued more than 50 bears from barren concrete pits and tiny cages across the U.S. in the last four years.

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