Bob Barker won't give up fight for Ben

Ben the bear in his cage at the Jambbas Ranch in Fayetteville
May 18, 2011 3:57:26 PM PDT
Bob Barker and other animal lovers want to find a caged Fayetteville bear a new home. When Barker heard what Ben the bear's owner said Tuesday about his offer to help, he called ABC11 Wednesday morning.

"It seems to me he doesn't know how to care for it [Ben], and he shouldn't have it," Barker said in reference to the video footage of Ben in his cage.

Ben's owner, James Bass, also owns Jambbas Ranch where the bear is kept.

Bass says Ben is half grizzly and half black bear. When asked if there's any validity to people's concerns about Ben's living conditions, Bass said no.

Animal lovers across the country are trying to find the bear a bigger and better home.

"People think he doesn't have the best living conditions," Bass said. "What is the best living conditions?"

Barker also takes issue with the fact that Cumberland County has allowed Bass' animal ranch to remain open despite problems in the past.

Bass says the USDA is lying about the 25 violations it says the ranch has had in the last three years.

Barker wants to rescue Ben and send him to a roomy bear refuge in California, but Bass doesn't think that's a good idea either.

The ranch owner questions what would happen to Ben if he turns him over.

"So they could shoot him and sell the hide?" he asked.

Bass says if he gives Ben to an animal rights group or habitat they would probably kill him.

"You'd be surprised what people do," he added.

Barker says those thoughts are ridiculous.

"Obviously he knows nothing about me or the people I work with," Barker said. "To even have that enter his mind is utterly ridiculous."

Barker says he would never hurt Ben. He wants to help him and he says he won't give up trying.

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