Petting zoo bear will not be euthanized after rabies scare

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A bear cub at a petting zoo on Washington University’s campus caused a rabies scare. As many as 18 students who had contact with the animal were bitten. The St. Louis County Health Department has determined that the bear is not a rabies threat and students are not at risk to undergo treatment. The bear will not be euthanized to test for the disease.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is now weighing in on the bear biting incident at Washington University this week.

This is a statement from PETA released to the media, “Bears such as Boo Boo are doomed from the start. Petting zoos are disaster zones for diseases, including rabies and E. coli, and also deprive wild animals of everything that is natural and important to them. Petting-zoo operators and other animal exploiters sign death warrants for these animals and jeopardize the health of everyone involved.”

Cindy’s Petting Zoo was allowed on campus this week to provide some stress relief for students during finals. The zoo brought a variety of animals including a small bear cub named, “Boo Boo.” Several students held and cuddled the bear and it bit and nipped at some of them, breaking skin on 14 students.

We visited Cindy’s Petting Zoo in Moscow Mills Missouri on Friday. It is full of dozens of animals, including camels, ponies, pigs, goats, rams. I was told by a worker there that the owner Cindy Farmer was not there and wouldn’t be back until later on Friday. I have left voice-mail messages for her and have not heard back.

Washington University said this is an extremely unfortunate situation for students and the bear cub. A spokeswoman said a student organization has for the past several years worked with the petting zoo to bring in animals during finals week. She said this year without the university`s prior knowledge. The petting zoo included a 2-month old bear cub. She indicated changes may be made in the event in future years.

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