No More Concrete Cage – Lawsuit Wins Permanent Sanctuary for Ricky the Bear

Posted on February 9, 2015

Lawsuit Convinces Shop Owner to Finally Release Ricky the Bear to Wild Animal Sanctuary

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF

YORK, Pa. — A female black bear named Ricky will finally feel grass under her feet, after a settlement in the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit led to her release to the Colorado-based Wild Animal Sanctuary. The lawsuit was filed by the Philadelphia office of the law firm BakerHostetler in December 2014 on behalf of concerned Pennsylvania residents against Jim Mack’s Ice Cream, where Ricky had lived for 16 years in a small, concrete cage, eating a mix of corn and dog food funneled onto the floor of her enclosure. Today, under the supervision of Dr. Mary Denver, DVM, former head veterinarian at the Maryland Zoo and former president of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Ricky is on her way to her new home at the sanctuary.

Watch Ricky’s Rescue video:

Ricky’s suffering in her tiny enclosure was confirmed by veterinary experts, who warned of a “slow and torturous decline in physical and mental health” if the bear remained in these conditions. National attention was drawn to her plight, and tens of thousands signed petitions requesting her release, including comedian Ricky Gervais. Local residents had asked for Ricky’s release for years.

Ricky’s new habitat at the Wild Animal Sanctuary, located in Keenesburg, Colorado, features 15 acres of rolling grassland at the 720 acre sanctuary. Bears require large, environmentally complex spaces in which to engage in their natural behaviors, such as bathing, exploring, foraging, and denning—and that’s what Ricky’s new life holds in store for her at the sanctuary. Special care is given to new residents like Ricky, who will be slowly transitioned into her new life in a large acreage sanctuary through custom enrichment and a climate-controlled rehabilitation center. Ricky’s future now includes plenty of space to be undisturbed by humans and traffic. She will in time be able to run and play with other bears.

The lawsuit, filed by Carl Hittinger and Brian Saunders of BakerHostetler and attorney Brian LaManna, accused James H. McDaniel, Jr. of violating state regulations that require the humane care and treatment of wild animals and of posing a threat to public safety by holding a bear at the Lincoln Highway-based store. “BakerHostetler was pleased to bring this case on behalf of our local clients and ALDF to right this animal abuse and release Ricky to a reputable, independently-certified sanctuary where she belongs,” said Carl Hittinger, a partner at BakerHostetler. In the settlement, Mr. McDaniel agreed to release Ricky, and the plaintiffs agreed to drop the lawsuit as a result.

“Our legal team is thrilled that Mr. McDaniel has made the ethical choice to send Ricky to the experienced professionals at the Wild Animal Sanctuary,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for ALDF. “We were prepared to litigate until Ricky was free, but this decision will save everyone time and money and Ricky won’t have to wait any longer to feel the earth beneath her paws.”

Photos and video of Ricky in her new home will be available by request on Tuesday.

More Information

44 thoughts on “No More Concrete Cage – Lawsuit Wins Permanent Sanctuary for Ricky the Bear

  1. Caroline says:

    I would love to see Ricky in her new home. That you ever so much!!

  2. vicki strykowski says:

    I would love to see the video please!

  3. Sherri Wiegman says:

    EXCELLENT results ALDF!!! So excited that Ricky will actualy be able to be a bear and live in a natural habitat rather than a concrete enclosure.
    Kudos to you and thank you for a job well done.

  4. TeresaDavis says:

    This makes my heart so happy! It has been a long tough fight to make this happen for this beautiful bear. She so deserves to run free and finally feel the grass under her paws. Thank God for all the supporters fighting for her. God bless!!!

  5. I kept calling the ice cream store and shares story. Please let me know when you have pictures. Thank You

  6. Gill Kilroy says:

    What wonderful news!!! Can,t wait o see photos of her when. She arrives t her new home!!

  7. Terry Poage says:

    This so great. Been praying for her release and God answered.

  8. julissa Fernandez says:

    I’m glad this poor innocent animal was freed.

  9. julissa Fernandez says:

    I’m glad this poor innocent being was freed.

  10. Donna Marino says:

    This is a miracle for Ricky! You guys rock! Thanks so much for your efforts.

  11. Polly Mertens says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  12. Debra Stair says:

    Have been to the animal sanctuary in Keenesburg and it is an awesome place.

  13. Sandy Davis says:

    Wonderful. Thank you to those who have worked, i’m sure so hard to accomplish this. To think a wild animal has never felt grass under her feet!!

  14. Kathy Lipsie says:


  15. Nancy says:

    I would love to see videos and photos of this soon to be lucky and happy bear!

  16. BLynn Jorgensen says:

    This is terrific news. Your efforts on behalf on animals are greatly appreciated. Thank you for acting on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves. This bear deserves to live with other bears in a safe natural setting and now she will.

  17. Barb Maidelis says:

    Please send/post news of Ricky in her new home. I am so happy for her and grateful to everyone who helped make her rescue a success!

  18. klara lipton says:

    There is a God after all, and he loves all the animals too.

  19. Samantha Sandy says:

    Would just LOVE to see Ricky enjoying herself…YES….send videos and pictures!

  20. Lisa Graetz says:

    I am beyond happy for Ricky! Thank you for not giving up. Your efforts on behalf of all creatures of this Earth gives me hope! These creatures, bears, lions, tigers, elephants, Orcas, dolphins etc. should not be caged! The inhabit this Earth with us, NOT for our entertainment or for us to make a buck on. Namaste.

  21. Raquel Alonso says:

    We must put an end to this!

  22. Dee Pierce says:

    I volunteer regularly at The Wild Animal Sanctuary and look forward to seeing Ricky cavorting with her soon-to-be new bear friends. She will have grass and sun, fresh air and yummy, healthy food. (And a great view of the Rocky Mountains.) She will live freely and happily. If you get the chance, come visit us just northeast of Denver. Or visit the sanctuary on Facebook.

  23. Pamela Boucher says:

    this is so beautiful indeed love it.. glad t he bear is going to be free to roam on nice grass and etc send us updated pictures please

  24. Marcia Scott says:

    This is great news! Thank you so much for all your hard work! I’d love to see the video of his release too.

  25. Pat says:

    So happy to hear of her rescue! Would love to see videos of Ricky.

  26. kevin says:

    Thanks to you all from all with hearts

  27. Helen smith says:

    Please can I see Ricky going into her new home? And thank you to everyone involved in freeing this bear from solitary concrete confinement. I still can’t believe we treat animals in this way in this century. You’re amazing thank you xxxx

  28. Severine Mellinger says:

    Just happy to hear that :-) i wish Ricky all the best. A kong happy new life. Thank you to all the peoples who make it real. Thank you

  29. Gianna Lisa Salvatori says:

    Great news!!! You are great!! Bears just like any animal shouldn’t be caged. Thank you!!!!

  30. Penny Bauer says:

    am soooooo happy for Ricci

  31. julie says:

    Can the same be done for Tony the Tiger surviving, but not living for 14 years in a tiny cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete Louisianna? What can we do to help?
    Thank you.

  32. Carolyn Foran says:

    Thank you for keeping the pressure on so she can finally be released. Good Job!

  33. Corina Ravenscraft says:

    This is SO wonderful! Thank you for not giving up on her and for all the tremendous amount of work you do for animals in need. Please send me as many pics and videos of Ricky in her new home as you like. :) I would love to see them. Next, we need to get Tony the tiger freed from his truck stop cage in LA. I know you guys are working tirelessly on his case, too. Know that there are many of us out here who believe in and support what you do. Thank you!

  34. Teressa says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  35. Ron & Ronda Geater says:

    ALDF, you guys are fucking awesome……this is why we’ll always support !!

  36. Chris Glisson says:

    Huge respect, fellow warriors ! <3
    Now go out and LIVE Ricky ! <3 <3 <3

  37. manuela van achter says:

    Dank U

  38. Lisa says:

    now to stop bear bile …. SO happpy for the bear….. Thankyou stop bear bile…

  39. Maria says:

    Thanks to all individuals involved in bringing Ricki’s long overdue nightmare to an end.
    The world needs more dedicated and determined people like these to alleviate animal suffering and abuse.

  40. deb says:

    What wonderful news! May you earthbound angels be richly blessed for all you do to help animals.

  41. Robyn says:

    Keep up the great work! It is heartwarming and heart lifting to hear what you have done!

  42. Richard Ordonez says:

    Thank you ALDF and the attorneys at BakerHostetler for working to free Ricky. May she hopefully live the rest of her life in peace and tranquility. As for James McDaniel Jr., I hope you get your comeuppance sooner rather than later. This degenerate should take Ricky’s place inside that “holding pen” and choke on horse apples.

  43. Wonderful! Each and every time we win in court on behalf of animal(s), it gives the rest of us involved in animal law a little extra something to push us through the toughest times. Unfortunately, it is an uphill battle that will never end but something some people just HAVE to do.

  44. Kamar says:

    fabulous guardians of the trapped, imprisoned, abused, tortured and loving sentient beings who ask only to be allowed to live humanely! Bravo!

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