Pictured left is a cage one of the bears was in and escaped from multiple times. Pictured right is one of the rescued bears' previous homes - a small cage with wet ground, little room to walk around and no room to roam or play. In spite of this, Bobbi says "people need to understand that the owners love these animals and believe in their hearts that they're doing the right thing."
What did you do before you transported them to their new homes?
Our veterinarian examined each bear thoroughly, including basic blood work, stool sampling, dental check up, and vaccinations, and each bear was micro-chipped. Two bears were neutered and one had his skin tested to help determine the reason for his hair loss.
Is it legal to own exotic animals?
Laws addressing private pet ownership of exotic animals vary from state to state. Ohio recently enacted new regulations requiring owners to pass background checks, pay fees, obtain liability insurance, and pass inspections. Some current exotic owners feel they are unable to meet the new standards and are making a difficult decision to give their "pets" up.
Why do people own exotic animals?
Bobbi meeting Maddie's previous owner, who was in tears at Bobbi's arrival.
That is a difficult question to answer. In the case of the Ohio bears, each owner had their own unique story. One had saved their bear from being sold to an exotic hunting ranch but found their needs and care too overwhelming. Others had offered to take their bear from its previous owners, because it was being kept in truly terrible conditions and would have died. Some had purchased their bear as a "pet" not thinking about what they would do once the cub became a full grown bear and unmanageable. All expressed that they loved their bear, and Bobbi knows it was very difficult for them to say goodbye.
Meet the Bears
Six of the bears (below) lived in cages five feet tall, 15 feet wide and 30 feet long for several years. They had never had room to run or play.
The cinnamon black bear (below left) was rescued from Oberland, OH. A private owner purchased her from Mt. Hope Exotic Animal Auction. He had this bear for many years and due to the newly enacted laws in Ohio he decided to contact Outreach for Animals who together with Lions Tigers & Bears were able to find her a lifetime home.
An Asiatic Black Bear (above right) was surrendered by a private owner from Mingo Junction, OH. He had escaped from his cage many times. During his escapade, he would often try to "bear hug" those he came upon, which would not be welcome from a 625 lb. bear! The owner lovingly raised and cared for him and it took great courage on his part to contact Outreach for Animals who together with Lions Tigers & Bears were able to find him a lifetime home.
Maddie was bought as a family pet, but when she grew too big to care for, the family was forced to get rid of her. She was going to be sold for $125 to a hunting ranch before a friend stepped in to take her. She lived in a double corncrib for at least 7 years, while her owner tried to find a better home. LTB was able to accept her as our newest family member. She is currently in quarantine where she is being treated for giardia and parasites. When she was released into her quarantine enclosure, she hopped right into the water trough and enjoyed a bath. In her previous home she only had a water bucket, so she must have thought the trough was a pool! Once she receives a clean bill of health, Maddie will join her new roommates in their four-acre enclosure where she will be able to roam, play, and swim - as a bear should -- for the rest of her life.
Pictured top left and clockwise: Maddie in her old home; the double corncrib Maddie lived in for 7 years; current LTB residents and Maddie's future roommates; Maddie enjoying a bath at LTB.
How can I help Maddie and other bears?
Planning of LTB's new five-acre bear habitat is complete, but we must raise additional funding before we can begin construction. Please help us build this incredible new space for our bears by contributing via the link below.
It is estimated that thousands of bears, tigers and other exotic animals are living in Ohio. Many will need to be relocated to reputable sanctuaries, including LTB, but first we will need to expand our facility to prepare for more residents. Your donation today helps these magnificent animals to a brighter future.
To learn more about Lions Tigers and Bears, please visit: www.lionstigersandbears.org or call 619-659-8078 option 2.
This rescue was made possible by generous donations and a matching grant.