NEWBERRY, Mich. (WJMN) – Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry will pay a $2,400 fine resulting from a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In court documents provided to us by PETA, The complaint alleged that the owners of Oswald’s Bear Ranch had violated the Animal Welfare Act by failing to provide structurally sound housing and sufficient nutritional food for the bears at its facility. The USDA filed the complaint following a tip from PETA that alleged the owners had misrepresented the circumstances surrounding a power outage in April of 2019 which allowed two bears to escape the facility.
According to the same court documents, an outage resulting from a snowstorm on April 12, 2019 allowed the bears to escape. One was recovered the same day, while the other was fatally shot by local law enforcement on April 15, 2019, when discovered on the property of a nearby neighbor to the ranch. The complaint alleges owner Dean Oswald told officials with the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services that the power outage had lasted until April 15 when the second bear was discovered and killed.
While Oswald’s Bear Ranch is agreeing to pay the $2,400 penalty, they pointed to a USDA inspection from August of this year in a statement to Local 3 News which found the ranch to be in compliance with all regulations. The ranch sent the following release to Local 3 News in response to the court findings:
“Oswald’s Bear Ranch has agreed to no “wrong doing” in a complaint filed by the USDA in which the post storm escape of Sophie Bear and subsequent euthanasia by a local law enforcement officer. The incident which occurred in 2019 was originally investigated by the USDA Inspector and the Loss of electricity, due to a high wind snow storm, was determined to be “an isolated incident”. Oswald’s Bear Ranch has agreed to pay a civil fine. Dean and Jewel Oswald look forward to providing the best of conservation care for their collection of black bears in the largest black bear sanctuary in the world. Recently, several complaints have been filed by “Animal Rights” corporations in reference to alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act in regard to the care at the 240 acres rescue facility. All of those concerns have been dropped by the USDA after review and Oswald’s Bear Ranch has received a 100% rating with No “Non-compliant” issues of the AWA. Dean Oswald, 82 year old Marine Corps “Veteran of the Year” is determined to continue receiving the highest in conservation ratings with the help of his family, staff and professional medical expertise from our local veterinarian. Please follow all of the activities about the bears on the bear ranch website: Oswaldsbearranch.com.”