PETA accuses Oswald's Bear Ranch of animal abuse

Published: Oct. 15, 2017 at 8:53 PM EDT
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PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are alleging Oswald's Bear Ranch abuses the bears.

They posted a video October 10th online allegedly showing distressed bears in their cages.

"We started getting phone calls from people around the us saying you're abusing your bears and I said now wait a minute, how am I abusing them," owner of Oswald's Bear Ranch Dean Oswald said.

PETA contends the bears pacing back and forth are showing signs of mental trauma.

"The reason they were moving back and forth is they want to get their picture taken because they get a treat," Dean Oswald said. "The bear's aren't stupid they are a very smart animal."

For those that have never been to there, Dean Oswald opened the bear ranch to the public in 1997 after having bears of his own, and accepting them from agencies like the DNR.

"Our bears here are my babies," Oswald said. "I walk in and sit down and they lick my face, how many places can you go where you sit down with a 600 pound bear and have them walk up to you and lick your face."

The bears range from cubs bottle fed by hand, to full grown adults.

"There's 6 bears here, about 2 years ago, they were going to euthanize them, the agriculture department of the State of Ohio, and I had them bring them here instead of killing them, that's one of them right here," Oswald said. "These here are the cubs that we had from this year we raised from about 3 pounds, the animal rights people, PETA people are saying well they're psychologically going to be impared because of being confined here in this area."

According to the Oswalds, the enclosures are built to federal standards, and also serve a practical purpose.

"If they were with some of these others in the larger habitats, the male bears, the female bears would kill them so they're here now for one year," Oswald said.

According to the sanctuary, this is not the first time PETA has targetted a zoo.

"After the PETA incident started, Bud DeYoung called and said they tried the same thing with him about exactly a year ago, it would seem to me that a lot of the PETA people are simply going from zoo to zoo right on down the line no matter who it is," Dean Oswald's grandson Dusty Oswald said.

The USDA visited the ranch last week to investigate the claims, and gave the ranch a passing grade of 100%.

On another note, next Tuesday, they are expecting a yearling to be delivered from the Harborsville Zoo in New York.