PETA Statement: Bear Escapes After PETA Warns Against Adding Animals to Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Roswell, N.M. – Just weeks after PETA wrote to Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh urging him to halt the Spring River Park & Zoo’s plans to acquire additional animals, a bear who was recently moved to the facility escaped, reportedly by squeezing through a chain-link fence.

PETA shared numerous animal welfare concerns about the roadside zoo with Kintigh, including that a beaver had escaped from an enclosure and was apparently never found, animals appeared not to have received adequate veterinary care on numerous occasions, and the facility had failed to take virtually any steps to improve animals’ well-being, as promised in the city’s 2018 Master Plan. PETA reiterated its offer to make a significant donation toward improving conditions for the animals in exchange for permission to arrange for the two black bears at Spring River to be placed in an accredited sanctuary, but Roswell officials refused, sentencing the animals to a miserable, archaic concrete pit.

Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet:

Roswell city officials blew off PETA’s offer to help move two black bears out of its concrete pits and into sanctuaries and blew off PETA’s warning that adding more animals at the Spring River Park & Zoo would be a disaster, and now, a bear temporarily housed there has escaped from a woefully inadequate enclosure that no bear expert would condone. Enough is enough. It’s time for this roadside zoo to stop pretending that it’s going to modernize someday and start preparing to shut down now.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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