By: McKenzie Bennett
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Tregembo Animal Park is under scrutiny after a citation surrounding a black bear under its care.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the zoo in the wake of a formal PETA complaint regarding the bear who reportedly had severe facial lesions and irritation to his eyes, nose and mouth.
According to a press release, the PETA Foundation's Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Heather Rally, reviewed photographs of the bear and said the bear appeared to have an extreme and chronic case of inflammation of the cornea and had most likely been in pain for a long time.
The USDA investigated on April 29, days after PETA's complaint and cited the facility for inadequate veterinary care.
The zoo was given until May 1 to resolve the issue.
But the owner of the park, Sherry Tregembo, said she has been treating the bear for his skin condition since March 19.
“We gave him some antibiotic shots and so you have to let that work for a week or two and then he started getting worse instead of better and so then we started going into a different kind of treatment,” Tregembo said. "It's very rare. I've never even heard of a bear having it before, so it's kind of guess work and figuring out what treatment is going to work best for the bear."
The facility was also cited in the same report for a goat enclosure that had protruding nail heads and loose wires, which could injure the animals. Tregembo said that wasn't out of the ordinary.
“That is a pretty normal cosmetic thing,” Tregembo said. “You are always going to have some kind of little issue anytime you know an inspector comes out.”
But PETA took a different position on the citations.
“Mistreatment, such as Tregembo Animal Park's failure to meet even the minimum standards of care for this bear, is commonplace at facilities like this across the country,” said PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders.
The USDA returned to the animal park Tuesday for a follow-up inspection. According to the report, there were “no non-compliant items identified in this inspection.”
“We work really hard everyday, seven days a week tying to improve and make sure these animals are well taken care of,” Tregembo said.
Tregembo said the bear will be kept in seclusion for healing purposes and will not be available for public viewing for the next few weeks.