Animal rights group wants western North Carolina park closed

By Tom Breen
Raleigh, North Carolina (AP) September 2010

An animal rights group wants a bear exhibit in western North Carolina shut down, saying it’s a danger to the public.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to revoke the license that allows Chief Saunooke Bear Park in Cherokee to operate.

A USDA inspection during July detailed two episodes of bear cubs biting members of the public in one week. One of the people bitten was a 9-year-old girl.

PETA says it’s raised concerns for years about how the facility treats its animals.

The bear park is part of the Chief Saunooke Trading Post, which was first opened in 1939.