The USDA has cited the Union County Sportsmen’s Club numerous times for providing inadequate veterinary care for Dillan the Asiatic black bear

By Kelli Bender
January 14, 2020 01:05 PM

The Union County Sportsmen’s Club in Millmont, Pennsylvania, offers members access to a rifle range, a restaurant, campsites and several wildlife exhibits that are home to various wild animals, including an Asiatic black bear named Dillan.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dillan’s exhibit at the club is a small enclosure that offers limited mobility and is “only concrete,” aside from a den with straw bedding. Here, the bear spends his days stressed and in pain from untreated dental issues. Along with these issues, Dillan is also obese due to a poor diet and a lack of exercise.

“Dillan’s morbid obesity can be attributed to the club’s history of feeding him fattening restaurant leftovers and the lack of exercise opportunities in his small concrete-floored cage,” PETA claimed in a recent article about Dillan’s living conditions. “He has been declawed, has arthritis, and has painful and life-threatening dental disease. Visitors and USDA inspectors have seen him rocking back and forth, a sign of severe psychological distress.”

The USDA, reports PETA, has inspected the Union County Sportsmen’s Club numerous times over the past five years and has repeatedly cited the club for mistreating the animals under its care, including citations for deteriorating, feces-covered enclosures, a lack of veterinary care, a lack of trained animal handlers, a lack of adequate space for the animals, stressful conditions, drinking water contamination, poor diets for the animals and more.

Courtesy of PETA

Dillan is often included in these inspection reports as being affected by these citation-worthy offenses. An October 2019 USDA inspection of the club found that Dillan still hadn’t received treatment for his dental issues and that the “severity and chronic nature of these dental issues are likely to have caused the bear a significant amount of pain over a long period of time and the condition of the teeth have continued to deteriorate since first documented in 2017.”

“Additionally, the bear is morbidly obese, with limited mobility and exhibits a repetitive behavior in which he sits on his haunches and repeatedly rocks himself back and forth by using his forepaws to push against the wall in front of him, and will rock back against a large stone behind him in his enclosure,” the recent inspection report added.

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“The caretaker confirmed this is a behavior that is observed frequently. Repetitive abnormal behavior of this nature, can often be an indicator of pain and/or psychological distress. This repetitive behavior was first documented in 2017 and has been viewed on subsequent inspections and no methods of assessing, addressing or minimizing the underlying causes for this behavior have been put into action.”

Along with all of this, the USDA also noted in October that it is likely that Dillan, who is declawed, suffers from arthritis, but that the club has “no plans” to treat this issue either, a choice that is having “a negative impact on the health and welfare” of Dillan.

Courtesy of PETA; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

The Union County Sportsmen’s Club did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on the USDA’s findings. 

Because of this documented history of inaction, PETA is working to have Dillan removed from the club’s care and placed at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, an accredited sanctuary that can tend to his needs. To help them with this effort, Alec Baldwin recently sent a letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania Thomas Wolf, requesting that Wolf use his “power to ensure that authorities hold the club accountable and help secure Dillan’s transfer to this accredited sanctuary.”

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This is the second letter the actor, 61, has sent to the governor in regards to the Union County Sportsmen’s Club treatment of Dillan. The full text of this second letter, obtained by PEOPLE from PETA, can be read below.

Courtesy of PETA

To learn more about Dillan’s circumstances, and how you can help, visit PETA’s website.

 

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