North Carolina Residents Sue USDA Over Renewing Federal License for Jambbas Ranch

Posted on April 19, 2012

Roadside Zoo Allowed to Subject Bear and Other Animals to Inhumane Conditions Despite Repeated Violations of Welfare Laws

For Immediate Release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Help save Ben the bear!Fayetteville, N.C. — This afternoon, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), PETA, and two residents of Cumberland County, North Carolina appalled at the living conditions that they’ve witnessed for a bear named Ben and other animals at Jambbas Ranch Tours in Fayetteville have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) challenging its decision to renew Jambbas’ federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license. The AWA, which the USDA is charged with enforcing, clearly prohibits licensing a facility that is not in compliance with the act. The USDA has for years repeatedly cited Jambbas for AWA violations, including unsanitary conditions, hazardous enclosures, failure to provide adequate veterinary care, and failure to supply sufficient quantities of food and potable water. Yet the agency has continued to renew Jambbas’ license.

"It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to force the USDA to take real action against a shoddy roadside zoo where animals suffer without veterinary care and a solitary bear paces incessantly in a barren concrete cage," says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. "Ben and the other animals at this despicable menagerie suffer every day of their lives, and county residents are now leading the charge to put an end to this cruelty."

Ben the Bear"Ben and the other animals should not live like this," says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells, "and through its repeated citations of Jambbas for violating basic animal welfare standards, the USDA has admitted as much."

Numerous bear experts submitted statements to the USDA in opposition to renewing Jambbas’ license. After spending several hours observing Ben, bear expert Else Poulsen opined that Ben "is suffering greatly and intervention is critical at this time." She further explained, "Ben exhibits the typical aberrant behaviors of a sensory deprived bear in a substandard enclosure with substandard husbandry practices. His day consists of pacing, begging for bread from visitors, and sleeping–nothing else."

Another lawsuit–seeking custody of Ben the bear–filed by the two Cumberland County residents against Jambbas Ranch is pending.

Photos and video footage courtesy of PETA.

12 thoughts on “North Carolina Residents Sue USDA Over Renewing Federal License for Jambbas Ranch

  1. Hilary Davies says:

    I called the Jambbas Ranch from Australia. The person banged the phone down on me when I enquired about the bear.

    On the Jambbas website, I was alarmed to see that they are seeking donations of $40,000 to build a larger enclosure for Ben the bear. This looks deeply dodgy to me.

    Consequently, I emailed President Obama, and also rang the White House comments line. I don’t think they were especially interested.

    However, I had a go.

  2. Melanie Viegas says:

    Don’t worry Ben… a caring group of citizens started this campaign for you and they will not rest until you know freedom and Jambbas Ranch is put out of business forever!

  3. Deana Smith says:

    I called PETA to report the abuse of this poor bear quite a long time ago. I know that they, along with myself and other concerned people are working together to free Ben, and although two more years have passed since I made the call, I am hopeful that he’ll soon be able to live out the rest of his life in comfort with the peace and happiness he deserves.

  4. Jennifer Barski says:

    This is so sad. How can we get more people to help?

  5. Laureen says:

    This is so ridiculous that the USDA is looking the other way. IT is a joke “how many citations does it take to revoke a zoo licence?” Apparently, there is no limit.

  6. Katherine Connor says:

    Ben is fine. Trust me, the owners are suffering throughout this case more than the public knows. Mrs. Bass is battling critical conditions because of the lawsuit. They are doing everything they can to get Ben more space, and they have been doing so ever since they got him. If you don’t know the Mr. and Mrs. Bass personally, than you shouldn’t judge their hearts, especially when they have ran this ranch for over 30 years on their own, with the help of workers, of course. If you want to help Ben, then please donate. They are doing everything they can. Oh and by the way, did you know that PETA’s philosophy is that a dead animal is better than one in captivity? If the ranch were to be shutdown, where would all of the other countless healthy animals go in such short time? There are over 200 animals at Jambbas.

  7. Roxanne Brawley Poole says:

    If it has taken 2 years, plus since and Mr. and Mrs. Bass cannot provide an adequate home for Ben, then perhaps they should willingly find a sanctuary that can give him a better living environment. That shows kindness, because it is obvious that Ben is miserable.

  8. Charlotte Stanton says:

    I would give my life to save any one of these animals. From the ducks to the bears. I wish I could save Ben. I’ll do all that I can.

  9. Kim Frohlinger says:

    Clearly, katherine Connor, your comment that “Ben is fine” is ludicrous. Numerous bear experts have observed him and say he is miserable and it is critically important to remove him fromthe horrible situation he has been living in for years. Even if the Ranch Owners are “well meaning” and “love” animals, they are unable to care for them properly. If they truly thought about the animal’s welfare they would place them in another environment, even if it means relinquishing them. Ben is languishing in solitary confinement with absolutely noting to do, he has no place to get comfortable, he has no fresh water or food available, and he is bored out of his mind. And yes, it is better to be dead than to live like that, slowly going out of your mind. But there is a third choice, which is simply to give Ben up to a better home, such as the PAWS sanctuary which will provide him with an enriched environment, bear friends, a swimming area, healthy food, and a more natural life.

  10. penny foley says:

    Ben deserves a home at PAWS, these people need to lose their license and it looks like they should have lost it a long time ago. He has suffered to long. Take all of the animals away from these heartless people, and the slap on the hand to the people renewing their license year after year when they know its wrong.

  11. B Mathews says:

    Making money off of another creatures misery is wrong on so many angles…I would expect more from the bible-belt, but it seems that the farther south I go, the worse “God’s” creatures seem to be treated…is it that people anesthetize themselves from suffering as long as they can go home and not look at it any longer? Are zoos teaching our children that it is okay to allow a creature to suffer and be denied their natural lifestyle so that we can pay to go see them up close whenever we would like? Look around, turn on any news channel…are we headed in the right direction?

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