Death of bear at suburban pumpkin patch sparks outrage on social media

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SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. –The death of a bear cub at a suburban farm and pumpkin patch has sparked outrage on social media but the owners are standing by their operation.

On Saturday two 10-month-old cubs were playing in their enclosure Goebbert’s Farm in South Barrington when one of the cubs collapsed.

John Ziel was there with his fiancée.

“The other baby bear would go up to it and bite it by its neck to play and the bear was just completely unresponsive,” John said.

John along with a number of other people went to social media to post about what they saw. John’s post focused on keeping exotic animals out of Midwestern winters.  Others, some who were there and others who were not, started accused the farm  of mistreatment and neglect.

Wisconsin-based Animal Entertainment Inc has brought animals from around the world to Goebbert’s Farm.  Owners say there is no mistreatment.

“You are going to have situations where young animals die.  It happens with people,” owner Mark Schoebel says.

After Saturday’s death someone called Harps, a nonprofit animal wellbeing organization, to investigate.  Ronda Griffin is licensed by the state agriculture department to look for signs of neglect.

“All the animals we saw looked healthy,”  Griffin said.  “It is a remarkably run operation here.”

The farm says it will reevaluate like it does every year, whether to bring the animals back next year.

Vets are working to determine what caused the cub to die. Results of the test could take weeks.
Full statement from Goebbert’s below:

We want to take a minute to address the situation that occurred at our farm in South Barrington on Saturday, October 24th – it is a rare and unusual circumstance, but we unfortunately did lose a bear this past weekend. The bear was immediately taken to the veterinarian where they performed an autopsy which came back inconclusive. We are currently waiting on the toxicology reports to find out definitive information and will continue working closely with the animal handlers, as well as the veterinarian to get an answer. We are deeply saddened by the situation. We do apologize for the delayed post – we are simply waiting on answers that are not ready yet.



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