Note: story edited to add website link to Oswald’s Bear Ranch.

NEWBERRY –  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more commonly known as PETA, is calling for an investigation of Oswald’s Bear Ranch.  The family that runs the Luce County facility says the effort amounts to harassment.

PETA is requesting that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigate Oswald’s Bear Ranch for apparent violations of Michigan law. 

Monte Oswald, CIO at Oswald’s Bear Ranch, points to what he calls ‘a highly political’ Michigan House Bill that would allow Carnivore Breeding again in Michigan only by “Reputable” licensed facilities.

Oswald said in an email, “We find it frustrating that their hypocritical behavior garners so much press coverage whenever a positive political issue arises in the legislature.”

The PETA website ( has posted an article that says the following:

This morning, PETA sent a letter requesting that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) investigate Oswald’s Bear Ranch—which is owned and operated by notorious animal exhibitor Dean Oswald—in Newberry for numerous apparent violations of Michigan law, including for discrepancies in the facility’s bear-acquisition records and for intentionally misleading lawmakers.

In the letter, PETA notes that in the past 22 years, Oswald’s Bear Ranch has bred 13 cubs and purchased or received 60 others for use in photo ops, including three who were acquired just this year from a breeder in Wisconsin. PETA’s meticulous review of MDNR and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development records also revealed that there was no documentation for a 2016 transfer of three cubs from a facility that Oswald’s referenced on Facebook and that acquisitions that Oswald’s claims to have made weren’t corroborated by monthly inventory reports. Additionally, at least three bears who were placed at the facility by government agencies were moved to a breeding facility in Arizona, and despite misleading authorities into believing that it functions solely as a rescue facility, Oswald’s hasn’t taken in a single orphaned cub from government agencies since lawmakers amended the Large Carnivore Act in 2013.

“Dean Oswald’s lip service to animal welfare can’t hide the fact that he’s stockpiling bear cubs, who should be with their mothers, to use as moneymaking machines in cruel photo ops,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on authorities to investigate our findings and, if warranted, throw the book at this sham operation.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that Oswald’s Bear Ranch has a history of federal animal-welfare violations and was cited in 2010 for using physical abuse to handle an animal after a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector witnessed a handler strike a bear cub twice during a photo op. Video footage taken just last year shows three bear cubs used for photo ops pacing and crying out, and one was observed repeatedly chewing on the caging—all signs of severe psychological distress.

Monte Oswald, CIO at Oswald’s Bear Ranch, released the following statement this afternoon:

Oswald’s Bear Ranch is certified by the USDA and the Zoological Association of America.We are also supported by the Michigan Governor and Legislature through Act 8 of 2013 “Michigan Large Carnivore Act” in our effort to provide education and conservation for bears.

On 16 April 2018 Oswald’s Bear Ranch received mail from PETA representatives accusing the abuse of bears. These are the same false claims that were proven false by USDA inspectors (100%) last year two days after PETA claims were filed with the government and media outlets.

Oswald’s Bear Ranch has provided educational contact with bears since opening in 1984. The rescue facility has received bears from several municipal gov’t agencies over the years and now has 40 bears hibernating on the 240 acres ranch. This educational activity was halted in 2012 by the DNR when a complaint was filed alleging damage to the bears from this feeding & petting interaction. We’re thankful that the Governor and Legislators personally experienced this family friendly educational contact and common sense prevailed.

Last year Oswald’s Bear Ranch was contacted by an animal shelter official who was questioning why PETA representatives were requesting that staff attend the cub interaction in Oswald’s Bear Ranch to secretly video anything that could be used in a negative manner. Knowing that the animal rights groups were preparing to attack us we continued to invite all guest to personally visit and experience this wonderful and unique public contact so as to combat their lies with guest’s first hand knowledge.

All bears in our care are examined daily by professionally trained staff and doctor of veterinary medicine as needed.

Find out more about the facility at