Target: Director Alvin A. Taylor, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Goal: End cruel and inhumane bear baiting operations in South Carolina.
Bears are being inhumanely used for the blood sport of bear baiting. Confined, chained, and unable to defend themselves, the bears fend off up to 300 trained dogs as entertainment. Countries such as Russia, Pakistan, and even Canada call this entertainment. Unfortunately, bear baiting is also legal in the state of South Carolina.
Bears are captured for the competition and forced to endure immense pain before the fighting begins. Their teeth are broken, noses are pierced with nose rings, and they are declawed. Large groups gather to watch dogs torment the bears, sometimes to the death. The events are sponsored by breed clubs, such as the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. These events are described by the sponsors as a training event for hunting dogs. This event is a sadistic spectator “sport” for those who enjoy watching a dog attack a bear.
Black bears are shy animals who usually avoid humans. A male black bear can have a home range of nearly 200 miles and weigh up to 800 pounds. South Carolina law only requires that a bear’s enclosure be 84 square feet in size – an inadequate prison for such a large animal.
Public bear baiting competitions are held in Spartanburg, Hickory Grove, and Travelers Rest, South Carolina. The dogs are only supposed to intimidate and bay at the bear and keep the bear in its place. In actuality, the dogs harass the bear by jumping on and biting the bear. Additionally, the bears are subjected to barking and biting dogs for hours on end without access to food or water.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has issued permits for 26 captive bears. The majority of these bears are used in bear baiting competitions. The SCDNR does not inspect the competitions and has turned a blind eye to the fates of these tortured bears. South Carolina’s animal protection laws are weak and insufficient. The SCDNR should enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to protect these mistreated bears. The AWA “requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public.” These bears are certainly not being provided even the minimum standards of care. They are exploited, attacked, tortured, and sometimes killed for the sake of a blood sport competition.
By signing this petition, you will urge Director of the SCDNR to prohibit both public and private bear baiting competitions. The competitions are torturous, cruel, and inhumane.
Dear Director Taylor,
South Carolina is the only state that allows the blood sport of bear baiting. These competitions are barbaric and inhumane and cause grievous harm to the bears. Surely, there are more humane ways that hunting dogs can be trained rather than torturing black bears that have had their teeth broken and claws either filed or removed.
The bears are subjected to harassment and aggressive attacks by up to 300 dogs over the course of each event. They are denied food and water and chained in a corner. Their “habitats” are no better, forced to live in an 84 square foot, solitary enclosure.
We, the undersigned, urge you to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and shut down these cruel and sadistic events. No animal deserves to be degraded and defiled like the bears in these “sporting” competitions. Please protect these black bears and save them from a life of torment in South Carolina.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Derek R. Audette