For years, Memphis the black bear was trapped in a backyard in the Lowcountry. At first he was chained to a tree, and then he was placed in a five-by-twelve-foot chain-link cage.
“This is more common than people realize with these types of animals,” says Michelle Reid, director of the nonprofit Animal Rescue & Relief. “And it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the middle of nowhere.” Several months ago, Animal Rescue & Relief took Memphis from that backyard, and now he has two acres to roam in an enclosure at Charles Towne Landing.
Reid won’t say what town Memphis was found in, but she says it took about a year and a half to investigate the claims of animal abuse and get through the red tape to have him removed. When Reid and a co-worker finally went to the house with backup from local police, they removed the 450-pound bear and put him in a quarantine space. They gave him the name Memphis.
They also helped find him his new home in the Animal Forest at Charles Towne Landing on the banks of the Ashley River. “When he first was let loose into his habitat, he just took off,” Reid says. “Tearing branches out of the trees, he jumped in the pond and swam around, and he just had a field day. Every day with him is like that because he’s never had that.” “Because certain humans think they are superior to animals, so can do with them as they wish…it’s wrong & must stop!”
Reid says that some people keep bears for bear baiting (also known as bear baying), a bloodsport in which hunting dogs are released into a cage to attack a bear, sometimes with its teeth and claws removed. The practice is still legal in South Carolina. But in the case of Memphis the bear, Reid says it looks like the owner was just keeping him as a pet. “It seems that a lot of times when people have these sorts of animals … it’s just not your average owner and your average pet,” she says.
According to Reid, Memphis’ owner will not face criminal charges. In February, state Sen. David Thomas (R-Greenville) sponsored the Exotic Animal and Reptile Control and Regulation Act, a bill that would require people to apply for a special permit and pay a $150 annual fee to own any exotic animal — a term defined in the bill as including bears, hippos, camels, raccoons, opossums, lemurs, monkeys, beavers, and porcupines. The bill never made it past the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, but Reid is holding out hope that another legislator will sign on to support the bill in next year’s session. “It’s bloody disgraceful to think that anyone can take a wild animal & keep it as a back yard pet, they are wild for a reason!”
“I’d hate for it to take somebody getting hurt for people to realize that we need those laws,” Reid says. “Sadly it will probably take something like that, for the law to act!”
In her 10 years leading the organization, which investigates animal abuse and neglect cases in North and South Carolina, Reid has encountered exotic animal auctions where people can purchase monkeys, tigers, and large reptiles. She has seen people keeping Alaskan wolves on their property for breeding, and she was involved with the seizure of 76 cats and dogs from a pet shelter in Williamsburg County, N.C., where The Post and Courier reported that cats had pus oozing from their eyes and dogs had faeces in their cages.
If you are aware of a situation where an exotic animal is being mistreated, contact Animal Relief & Rescue via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations for the organization can be sent to PO Box 13477, Charleston, SC 29422.
Memphis can be seen every other day at Charles Towne Landing (1500 Old Towne Road) in the Animal Forest, where he and another male black bear named Tupelo take turns in the public viewing area. The Animal Forest is also home to elk, bison, river otters, mountain lions, brown pelicans, and egrets. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $7.50 for adults, $3.75 for S.C. senior citizens, $3.50 for students age 6-15, and free for children age 5 and under.
“Bears like other wild animals do not belong in captivity, please sign the petitions below to stop this & bear baiting; the horrific blood sport where dogs attack a tethered bear for fun & entertainment.”
Bear Baiting or baying is alive & well in South Carolina; it is the only state in the nation to allow this cruelty.
The following video show’s just how cruel this is, this video is in South Carolina
Viewer Discretion Advised
Uploaded by hsus on 24 Aug 2010
Bear baiting, also known as “bear baying” by some, is a cruel spectator event where participants release their dogs to attack a tethered, captive bear, who has had her claws and some of her teeth cut off, leaving her defenseless
A pack dogs rush the bear, barking, biting and lunging at it. Frightened, the bear rears up on it’s hind legs, and has to use its strength to fend off the dogs, swinging at them.
The bear suffers bites and gashes, but the real trauma is the psychological trauma of a ceaseless set of attacks that last for hours.
In fact, some bears are prone to attacks for four hours as nearly 100 teams of dogs are set upon the bear in rapid succession. The bear…may endure this treatment every weekend throughout much of the year.
Surrounded by throngs of onlookers, many who travelled hundreds of miles to take part in the despicable spectacle.
The following Face Book page is dedicated to outlawing bear baiting/ baying:-
Speak out against bear baying!
Following are ways to let your voice be heard:
Contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR). Let them know that you are a South Carolina resident and that you oppose the practice of bear baying. Ask them to use their power to prohibit the practice. A reasoned and respectful plea, in your own words, will have the greatest impact.
- The SC DNR can be reached by phone at 803-734-3886.
- A letter can be addressed to the following:
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
P. O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
Attn: John Frampton, Director
Contact your legislators in the statehouse. Whether bear baying is active in your community or not, our state leaders need to hear a clear message from their constituents – South Carolinians do not agree that bear baying should be legal.
Find on-line contact information for your state legislators by visiting: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/cgi-bin/zipcodesearch.exe.
Bear Baiting in Pakistan
Viewer Discretion Advised
Published on 15 Jul 2012 by pawspk
Bear Baiting is a cruel bloodsport in which pairs of dogs are set upon a tethered bear. Although it has been declared illegal in Pakistan for quite some time now, it continues unpunished to this day. For more information on bear baiting, visit WSPA’s website http://www.wspa.org.uk
In rural Pakistan, up to 2,000 spectators will assemble to watch a tethered and clawless bear set upon by trained fighting dogs.
WSPA is working hard to permanently stop what we believe is one of the world’s most savage blood sports.
The brutal but lucrative contests are organised by powerful local landlords. They own and train the dogs, which are also victims of this ‘sport’, encouraging ferocity in attack situations.
The bears are owned by Kalanders – traditional bear owners –who are paid by the landlords to bring the bears to fight.
Bear baiting is banned by the Pakistan Wildlife Act and contravenes Islamic teachings, which forbid the baiting of animals.
The ‘contest’ lasts for three rounds. As the dogs are encouraged to attack, the bear will tire and weaken, until it is unable to remain upright.
This is when the bear’s face and neck become vulnerable to the dogs’ teeth. They hang from the bear’s mouth and lips as they try to drag it to the floor. If they succeed, the dogs ‘win’ the round; if the bear stays on its feet, it has ‘won’.
Bears sustain more injuries than dogs in these savage stand-off’s, suffering ripped noses and mouths. The dogs’ jaws, clamped around the bear’s nose, are prized apart using sticks.
Most bears are permanently scarred, but the killing of either animal is avoided – they are too valuable. The bears live on to suffer further at the hands of their owners.
New facility offers special care for baited bears:-
An up-to-date clinic made possible by a generous supporter is now enabling staff at a WSPA-funded sanctuary in Pakistan to give rescued bears the very best care and treatment.
The Kund Park Sanctuary, run with member society the Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), is located between Punjab and North-West-Frontier Province where the Indus and Kabul rivers meet. It currently provides veterinary care and a safe haven for 22 bears formerly used for baiting.