The Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road has two fewer animals today. That’s because Ben and Booger, a couple of bears, are on their way to a new home in Colorado. The move was triggered by a lawsuit filed in August by two North Carolina residents.
The lawsuit alleged that the roadside zoo’s treatment of the two bears violated North Carolina’s anti-cruelty statute. Caroline Byrd and Lorraine Moe, who filed the suit against Tregembo and were represented by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – or PETA -- also say the cages were far too small and barren.
The settlement agreement permits the plaintiffs to challenge the roadside zoo in court, should it seek to acquire any new bears. PETA Director of Litigation Caitlin Hawks says the bears were…
“…basically kept in something the size of a dog kennel. Bears belong in the wild. And when that is not possible they belong in vast sanctuary habitats where they can freely roam and engage in natural, instinctive kind of behaviors.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the facility in 2015 for failing to provide one of the bears with appropriate veterinary care for facial lesions that left him with scarring on both corneas.
The bears will now live on multi-acre habitats at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
Park owner Sherry Tregembo told WHQR in an email that she cannot afford to spend several thousands of dollars to fight PETA to keep the bears. She added that PETA knows they can starve small businesses like hers with drawn out court battles.
The park is currently closed for the winter.