Local/State

Bob Barker wants new home for local bear

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Legendary game show host Bob Barker is speaking out about what some are calling a case of animal cruelty.

He's adding his name to the case of a 500 pound bear named Ben that's kept in a cage at Jambbas Ranch in Fayetteville.

Barker is not alone. The sight of Ben on a farm, along with a video about the bear produced by the animal rights group PETA, prompted teacher Lisa Stewart and her third-grade class to start a letter writing campaign.

"It's ridiculous," Stewart said.

"The bear is being tortured and it needs to stop," Barker said.

Barker and PETA are trying to get Ben a bigger cage and a different place to live.

"The bear wants to go," Barker said. "Are you happy Ben?"

But Ben's owner and the owner of Jambbas Ranch, James Bass, said the bear and his zoo are fine.

Bass says the only thing wrong in with cage is a "little poo poo."

He thinks the problem is not him but PETA.

"They're trying to cause trouble," he added.

ABC11 researched Jambbas Ranch and found it's been written up by the USDA for violations a total of 25 times over the course of a year.

When asked, Bass told ABC11 he doesn't know about those alleged violations.

Stewart and her students, Barker, and PETA say their campaign for Ben is just getting started.

Bass also was cited by Cumberland County earlier this year for having exotic animals, which is not allowed. County commissioners later gave Jambbas Ranch an exemption from the ordinance.

ABC11 spoke with County Commissioner Charles Evans. He suggested the commission may have made a mistake and hopes to revisit the issue at the next meeting.

ABC11 wants to know what you think. Is Ben the bear being treated fairly? Log on to the ABC11 Facebook page and share your thoughts.

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