Bearizona is owned by Sean and Dennis Casey.[i] Other Casey family members own Bear Country USA in South Dakota. There was a family feud over finances/power structure that led Sean and Dennis to leave Bear Country USA and start their own bear attraction in Arizona.[ii] The South Dakota facility had previously been in trouble for illegally selling bear parts (i.e. gall bladders, bear paws).[iii]
Bearizona’s problems include:
· In 2017, the USDA cited for Bearizona for improper storage of food and bedding and repeated failure to maintain enclosure in good repair to protect animals from injury and/or escape.[iv]
· In 2016, the USDA issued an Official Warning against Bearizona for causing an animal trauma and harm, for failing to provide adequate veterinary care, and for an enclosure in disrepair.[v]
· In 2016, the USDA issued a critical citation against Bearizona for insufficient perimeter fencing after an animal, presumably a cougar, entered the facility and killed a Dall lamb. In an earlier inspection, the USDA cited Bearizona for a handling violation after a Dall sheep was killed by a male goat after an employee left a gate open.[vi]
· In 2015, the USDA cited Bearizona for failure to dispose of expired medications, enclosures in disrepair that could cause injury to animals, and filthy drinking water.[vii]
· Bearizona transferred a black bear to Lee Greenly, owner of Minnesota Wildlife Connections, who had previously allowed a customer to illegally kill a captive-reared black bear contained in a 3-acre enclosure with a bow-and-arrow.[xii] Greenly also pleaded guilty to two felony counts of aiding hunters to kill wild bears at baiting stations that he maintained illegally inside a national wildlife refuge. Greenly’s USDA license was revoked for more than a dozen violations, including failure to provide adequate veterinary care and mishandling animals.[xiii]
History of Bearizona’s Alleged Abuse
[i] Steve Miller, “Another Bear Country: Part of Casey family starts up Bearizona,” Rapid City Journal, March 15, 2010.
[ii] Barbara Soderlin, “Bear Country family feud heads to court,” Rapid City Journal, April 19, 2010.
[iii] “Bear park owners sentenced for illegal sale of bear parts abroad,” International Herald Tribune (AP), October 4, 2006.
[iv] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, November 15, 2017, March 21, 2017.
[v] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Official Warning, Violation of Federal Regulations, Bearizona Wildlife Park, Case No. AZ160046, March 21, 2016.
[vi] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, August 22, 2016, February 17, 2016.
[vii] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, November 23, 2015, May 11, 2015.
[viii] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, June 24, 2014.
[ix] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, November 18, 2014.
[x] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, June 24, 2014.
[xi] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, Bearizona, 86-C-0100, November 18, 2014.
[xii] Larry Oakes, “Country singer pleads guilty in trophy bear case,” Star Tribune, November 27, 2006.
[xiii] Emery Cowan, “PETA, Bearizona in dispute,” AZ Daily Sun, October 14, 2014.
PETA Alerts Park to Recipients’ Illegal Bear Hunts, Failure to Provide Animals With Adequate Veterinary Care, Incident of Bear Cub Beating, and More
Contact: David Perle 202-483-7382
Williams, Ariz. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to Bearizona calling on the Williams-based animal exhibitor to stop breeding bears, traumatically separating the cubs from their mothers, and offloading them to Lee Greenly, Oswald’s Bear Ranch, and Animal Source Texas, Inc.—all of which have records of appalling animal welfare violations.
In its letter, PETA notes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordered that Greenly’s exhibitor license be revoked because of his history of violating animal welfare laws. He was also convicted of violating federal wildlife laws for guiding illegal bear hunts, and he allowed a customer to kill a tame bear while the animal was enclosed in a pen on Greenly’s property. Animal Source Texas paid nearly $60,000 in 2012 for animal welfare violations that included causing animals trauma, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort and denying veterinary care to animals who were in obvious physical distress. Oswald’s Bear Ranch’s offenses include using physical abuse to handle an animal. A USDA inspector witnessed an Oswald’s Bear Ranch handler strike a bear cub twice during a photo opportunity.
“PETA is calling on Bearizona to stop taking bear cubs away from their mothers and handing them off to businesses that beat them into submission or sell opportunities to kill them,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Bearizona regularly deals with outfits that have repeatedly failed to provide animals with the most minimal care as required by law.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Bearizona follows.
Chief Operating Officer
Dear Ms. Stoffel:
I am writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters to share some disturbing information about Lee Greenly; Animal Source Texas, Inc.; and Oswald’s Bear Ranch—all businesses that Bearizona has transferred bears to. After reading this letter, I hope you will prioritize the welfare of the animals you claim to care about and stop sending bears to these notorious outfits.
Lee Greenly: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ordered that Greenly’s Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license be permanently revoked, following more than 40 charges for AWA violations, including causing animals trauma and physical harm and repeated endangerment of animals and the public, resulting in the deaths of two animals and numerous human injuries. In one incident, Greenly allowed students to feed an adult bear from their mouths directly into the animals’ mouth, and two people were bit. One of the victims spent five days in the hospital and underwent a series of rabies shots. Greenly was also convicted for violating wildlife laws by conducting illegal bear hunts and maintaining illegal bear-baiting stations. He also allowed a customer to kill a tame bear while the animal was enclosed in a pen on his property.
Animal Source Texas, Inc.: The USDA ordered this company to pay nearly $60,000 after charging it with nearly a dozen AWA violations, including repeatedly failing to maintain adequate veterinarian care programs; causing animals trauma, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort; and denying veterinary care to animals in transit who were in “obvious physical distress.” Even after this penalty, Animal Source continued to violate the AWA, including earlier this year by failing to alert a veterinarian to numerous deaths—some of which may have been prevented—over a three-week period, and leaving animals vulnerable to injury from unsafe facilities.
Oswald’s Bear Ranch: The USDA has repeatedly cited this exhibitor for improperly handling bears, including using physical abuse. A USDA inspector saw a handler strike a bear cub twice in attempts to maintain control and to discipline the animal. The USDA has also cited Oswald’s for endangering the public and bears.
For someone who purports to care about animals, it seems wildly off the mark for Bearizona to provide animals to these outfits. May I please hear from you by October 15 that you will no longer endanger bears and the public by sending animals to these notorious places? Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel | Captive Animal Law Enforcement