Rescued: Bear and Foxes From Defunct Roadside Zoo Make It to Sanctuary

PETA Makes Deal After Feds Confiscate Ailing Bear

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Tawas City, Mich.

This morning, a North American black bear named Dolly and three foxes held at Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park, a defunct roadside zoo in Michigan that had denied animals adequate veterinary care, arrived at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado after being rescued by PETA and the sanctuary. Photos of Dolly and the foxes before they left Sunrise Side are available, and photos and video of them at the sanctuary will be available once they have become acclimated to their new environment.

The rescue comes just after federal authorities confiscated an injured bear named Grizzy—who had suffered for months with a wound that had become necrotic without veterinary attention—from the defunct facility. Sunrise Side then entered into an agreement with PETA to relinquish Dolly and foxes it still held and never again to acquire or possess any wild or exotic animals. PETA immediately worked to arrange the animals’ transfer to their spacious new retirement home.

“These animals will finally have the expert veterinary care and rich lives they deserve, now that Sunrise Side has emptied its cages,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is urging people to help shutter the country’s other roadside zoos by refusing to give these depressing outposts a dime.”

Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports indicate that a bobcat at Sunrise Side was obese, had matted hair, and appeared to “walk gently as if in pain” and that a lion was so thin that his bones were visible. PETA has just learned that the bobcat has since died and that Sunrise Side plans to send the lion to another roadside zoo in Michigan, after which there will be no animals left at Sunrise Side.

Before Sunrise Side closed to the public, it had racked up a long list of federal Animal Welfare Act violations, including ones stemming from an incident in which a lion bit off part of a visitor’s finger.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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