Judge Grants Ben The Bear Permanent SanctuaryPosted on August 27, 2012
Lawsuit Against Jambbas Ranch Means New Life for Bear Who Had Languished for Years on Cement in Chain-Link Kennel
For Immediate Release
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
David Perle, PETA
Fayetteville, N.C. – Cumberland County District Court Judge Kimbrell Tucker, in a lawsuit brought by concerned North Carolina citizens represented by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and local counsel, has signed a permanent injunction that allows a bear named Ben–who had been confined to a barren concrete cage at Fayetteville-based roadside zoo Jambbas Ranch Tours for six years–to reside permanently at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California, where he can forage, swim, and build his den under trees. Ben lived in solitary confinement at Jambbas Ranch, which caused him to suffer physically and psychologically. He was denied everything that is natural and important to bears. Judge Tucker entered a permanent injunction that ended Jambbas’ ownership of Ben and awarded permanent ownership and custody to PAWS. Ben was flown to California via a FedEx climate-controlled plane on August 9 after Judge Tucker issued a preliminary injunction. The permanent injunction also forbids Jambbas from acquiring, owning, or possessing any bears in the future; seeking any state wildlife captivity licenses or endangered species permits relating to owning or possessing any bears; and using Ben’s former concrete cage as the primary enclosure for any wild or exotic animal.
At the PAWS sanctuary, Ben is thriving in a vast natural habitat–one that is measured in acres, not feet and inches–where he bathes in his own pool, rubs his back on trees, and sleeps soundly in his large straw nest under oak trees.
"Ben now has the chance to live like a bear again, finally able to roam, play, and forage," says General Counsel to PETA Jeffrey S. Kerr. PETA’s local counsel, Calley Gerber, adds, "Today’s news ushers in a victory for animals across North Carolina who are confined in similarly cruel conditions."
ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells says, "Ben’s treatment was cruel and illegal under North Carolina law, and the court stopped it, plain and simple." Adds ALDF local counsel, Gavin Parsons, "We’re very pleased with the court’s order and wish Ben well in his new home."
Video footage of the transfer and of Ben in his new habitat at PAWS is available upon request.