Residents in St. Petersburg are voicing their outrage over two bears that were being kept in a private garage.
Apparently the bears have lived there for over a year. Their owner charges tourists to pose for pictures with the bears. The tourists say the conditions in the garage are appalling.
While the regional prosecutor’s office is now looking into the case, local media say investigators are not taking it seriously. The maximum penalty for keeping animals in unfit living conditions is 5,000 rubles ($200).
Improper animal treatment has long been one of Russia’s burning problems. Those who buy exotic animals are often ill prepared to care for their “pets” properly.
“80% of the demand is from amateurs who buy animals just for fun. They don’t understand that a monkey is not a CD player that you can turn off when you don’t need it,” coordinator of WWF Aleksey Vaisman told RT.
Some of the worst offenders are photographers eager for a cute young chimp or cub for their photo shoots. However, as such animals grow, their wild instincts become more pronounced. The result is that owners soon get bored of their pets and play out the final piece of the animal’s tragedy.
“Some October, November or December night they just take it to a park and leave it there. With the first frosts, it dies. The body is quickly picked apart by crows,” Vaisman said.