Ricki the Bear Caged at Pennsylvania Ice Cream Shop
Bennett v. Mcdaniel
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against Jim Mack’s Ice Cream Shop in 2014, arguing that the poor conditions under which a bear named Ricki was kept violated Pennsylvania regulations requiring the humane care and treatment of wild animals.
All animals have been rescued
For 16 years, Ricki, a black bear, lived alone in a small, concrete enclosure outside of an ice cream shop in Pennsylvania. At Jim Mack’s Ice Cream Shop, Ricki was not only deprived a comfortable habitat but also nutritious food – she was fed corn and dog food. Veterinary experts warned that Ricky was suffering a “slow and torturous decline in physical and mental health” in these conditions.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit in 2014, arguing that the conditions under which Ricki was kept violated state regulations requiring the humane care and treatment of wild animals. The suit also alleged that Ricki’s poor living conditions posed a public safety threat.
In 2015, Ricki’s owners settled the suit by agreeing to allow Ricki to go to a sanctuary. At the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, Ricki has 15 acres of rolling grassland to live in, and the company of other bears. She’s also become a local celebrity.
In 2017, the defendant violated the settlement agreement by acquiring additional animals. Due to this violation and noncompliance with Pennsylvania animal cruelty laws, the Animal Legal Defense Fund threatened to sue. This led to a second settlement agreement, leading to the rescue of the additional 25 animals on the property, including two alpacas, a llama, two emus, ducks, goats, a goose, rabbits, and peacocks. These animals were relocated to sanctuary and rescue groups within Pennsylvania.
On February 8, 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision in the case State v. Charmarke Abdi-Issa, holding that animal cruelty could be designated a crime of domestic violence, and that an animal’s guardian could be considered a victim of the crime.March 9, 2022 News
Court Holds Cricket Hollow Zoo Owners in Contempt for Removing Animals Designated for Rescue in Violation of Court OrderToday the Delaware County district court granted a motion for contempt filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund against Cricket Hollow Zoo and its owners, Pamela and Thomas Sellner, seeking the whereabouts of more than 100 animals who “disappeared” prior to a court-ordered rescue.October 5, 2021 Press Release
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cancelled notorious wildlife exhibitor and trafficker Robert Sawmiller’s license to engage in exhibition, breeding and selling activities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) following the Animal Legal Defense Fund's lawsuit against the agency for initially renewing the license.August 5, 2021 Press Release
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