Video: 13 Neglected Bears From Ohio Start New Lives at Colorado Animal Sanctuary

Ohio's New 'Dangerous Wild Animal Act' Helps Bears Go From Decrepit Cages to Lush New Home

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Keenesburg, Colo. – After the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act went into effect, dozens of animals—including 13 bears, four of whom came from the notorious Stump Hill Farm—were surrendered 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 teamed up with The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg to move the 13 bears to the beautiful and spacious sanctuary—and a new video shows them taking their first steps into their new lives.

At the sanctuary, the long-neglected bears have the freedom to roam, forage, and den—and while bear cubs in roadside zoos are often torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, the two bears who were pregnant when they were surrendered will be able to raise their cubs, likely for the very first time.

“Thanks to Ohio’s progressive captive-animal law, 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 tiny 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, which had bred tiger cubs for the local high school to use as mascots, 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.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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