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October 11, 2013

Victory Announced in Three Year Effort to End Cruelty of Bear Baying

South Carolina Bears Safely Arrive at Wildlife Sanctuary

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Six bears who had been used in “bear baying” competitions arrived safely at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo. this week. The move comes as the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has publicly stated that they will not issue any new permits for the private possession of black bears, putting an end to this cruel practice.

 A 2010 undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States uncovered video footage of dogs repeatedly attacking and biting a captive bear during these “bear baying” competitions.

 Kim Kelly, South Carolina state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Bear baying is nothing but a blood sport similar to dogfighting and cockfighting and has no place in South Carolina. We are thankful to South Carolina DNR for helping put a stop to this barbaric practice, protecting these bears from further abuse and placing them where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace.”

 Col. Chisolm Frampton, DNR law enforcement director, said: “A long term investigation, such as this, requires the highest commitment and dedication for the thousands of hours to work out the details of such a complex case. DNR law enforcement officers have done an outstanding job pursuing and prosecuting these criminal cases.”

 Facts:

  • Bear baying competitions are cruel spectator events where a captive bear is tethered or chained to a stake inside a fenced enclosure. The bear may have had her claws and some of her teeth cut off so she is unable to defend herself. Dogs are released into the pen to attack the bear. The supposed goal is for the dogs to corner the bear and keep her still, or “at bay.” In reality, the dogs bark furiously at the terrified bear, jumping on her and biting her face and legs.
  • The HSUS released the results of an undercover investigation into bear baying in late 2010. Documented footage of the events, which can last for several hours and include hundreds of dogs, underscored the cruelty that the bears endure, including physical and psychological trauma.
  • South Carolina is the only state where bear baying is still legal, yet continued efforts to pass legislation banning bear baying have failed at the statehouse.
  • In September, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources arrested a man and filed felony charges for ill-treatment of animals for allowing dogs to repeatedly attack and bite a captive bear. As part of a plea deal, the owner surrendered three bears who were among the six transported to Colorado.

 

 Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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