Proposal advances to let public pet bear cubs

Capital News Service
LANSING – Oswald Bear Ranch in Newberry has allowed the public to interact with bear cubs for 15 years, but Michigan law and animal rights activists would end the practice unless a bill passes to make the activity legal. Oswald’s has violated a 2000 state “large carnivore” law for more than a decade, but was unaware of the situation until last summer, said Carl Oswald, who works at the ranch and is owner’s son. It immediately ended public interaction with its bear cubs last June. “After that, the cubs would look at people, wondering what they had done wrong and why no one would come in and pet them,” Oswald said. Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, took up the issue and got a bill passed in December to allow petting of bear cubs up to 36 weeks old or 90 pounds.