On Monday afternoon, James Robert Grumbles of Travelers Rest, S.C. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty in the mistreatment of a captive black bear as dogs repeatedly attacked and bit the bear during "bear-baying."
Grumbles, 65, was originally charged with felony animal cruelty, but in a plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit three bears in exchange for a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge. His two month jail sentence was suspended for surrendering the bears.
According to The State.com, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) has charged dozens of people with more than 50 offenses of cruelty to bears ranging from killing a mother bear with cubs to killing undersized bears. The investigation continues and more arrests are expected.
Capt. Robert McCullough of the SC DNR calls it inhumane and cruel treatment. In August, during a National Plott Hound Association competition, a terrified bear was repeatedly bitten and made to suffer.
Bear-baying is illegal in 49 states; only South Carolina continues to allow captive bears who are declawed and defanged to be tied to stakes while hunting dogs are taught to try and make the bears stand up on their two legs making it easier for hunters to shoot the bears during hunting season. Bear hunting season in South Carolina is at the end of October.
The Spartanburg Humane Organization describes the inhumane practice labeled as a competition by enthusiasts:
"They are tethered in a small area into which teams of dogs are released in succession. 'Points' are scored when the dogs force the terrified bear onto its hind legs (called baying). One bear is subjected to barking, biting, and jumping dogs for multiple hours."
The three bears will be going to a sanctuary in Colorado.
There are approximately four captive bears left in the hills of Greenville, and even though the practice is legal, the SC DNR is no longer issuing any new permits. Hopefully when the current bears die or are lucky enough to be removed and sent to safety where they are no longer tortured, the barbaric practice of bear-baying will end.
If you would like to continue receiving the latest news on pet issues and how we can help those who cannot speak, please click the "Subscribe" icon.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook by clicking here. Please visit and "like" my page. You are welcome to submit story ideas by contacting me at email@example.com.