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Maddie the Bear Heading to California Sanctuary
MIAMI COUNTY -- A California rescue group saves Maddie, an exotic black bear, from a Covington, Ohio, home Tuesday morning.
Maddie was rescued from beastly, cramped conditions. The 10-year-old bear lived in a 20-foot corn crib for the last six years. This week she'll get to roam four acres thanks to Lions Tigers and Bears, a group that provides a safe haven for exotic animals in California.
Maddie's owners, the Wymers, took in Maddie when she was 3 from a game auction, where she would have eventually been put down.
"I couldn't let that happen so I called up the homeowner and said I was bringing home a bear and he said OK and she's been out here ever since," said Kimberly Wymer.
The Wymers say they tried to care for Maddie as best they could, but at nearly 400 pounds, it eventually became overwhelming. The couple reached out to Lions Tigers and Bears.
"We're actually here moving nine bears, we're rehoming nine bears, doing an 8,000-mile trip. We're doing full medical on all the bears and then getting them to their lifetime home," said Bobbi Brink, from Lions Tigers and Bears.
The rescue came at a perfect time, because on January 1, 2014, it will be illegal to keep these types of animals in Ohio without the proper permit.
"What will happen is they'll have a felony, could be a felony arrest for them having a tiger in their backyard so they need to pay attention to what's going on," said Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach for Animals.
The new law is an effort to tackle the ongoing exotic animal problem in the state.
"They're easy to get, they are cheap, we have auctions all over the place in the state of Ohio until the new laws came through," said Harrison.
Maddie and the other bears are headed to California to live free. The next six months, Lions Tigers and Bears will be looking for others.
"This is where we need help, you know we are a volunteer-run organization and we survive on donations and just try to do what's right for the animal and put it in a proper home," said Brink.
For more information about Lions Tigers & Bears, click here.
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