The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals has targeted another bear park in Cherokee, alleging mismanagement and safety violations.
PETA last week filed a complaint against Cherokee Bear Zoo with the state Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division. The group claims to have photographs and video showing a keeper cleaning bear pits while the bears are present, with no barrier between the two.
“Sending a keeper into a concrete pit filled with frustrated, deprived, dangerous wild animals can spell disaster,” PETA spokesperson Delcianna Winders said.
The owners of Cherokee Bear Zoo could not be reached for comment.
In a news release, PETA noted state law requires employers to provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious injury.
Cherokee Bear Zoo is one of three privately owned animal parks in Cherokee targeted by PETA, along with Chief Saunooke Bear Park and Santa’s Land.
Chief Saunooke Bear Park’s 11 bears were taken to a Texas animal sanctuary in July after federal violations were levied against the animal park. Following PETA complaints of mistreatment, federal investigators cited the bear park for failing to provide the bears with appropriate food, proper veterinary care and a safe enclosure.