YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Rikki, a 19-year-old black bear, lives inside a fenced enclosure on the property of Jim Mack’s Ice Cream along Lincoln Highway in Hellam Township.
“Her conditions are just not up to the code of standards for wild animals,” said Kelly Bennett.
Bennett along with three other Midstaters and the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund have filed a lawsuit against James McDaniel Jr., the owner of Jim Mack’s. They are asking McDaniel to let Rikki live out her days in an animal sanctuary, all expenses paid.
“This has been for myself two years, so it has not been a quick process,” Bennett said.
Before making the issue over Rikki public, Bennett says she asked McDaniel to release the bear. Bennett says McDaniel never responded to her.
“It’s time for her to move on. She spent 18 years of her life there, and just because she has spent 18 years there, to us it doesn’t mean she needs to spend the next 10 or 15 there,” Bennett said.
Rikki still has a good 10-15 years left. Bennett argues her current living situation is not up to par.
“She’s in a very small enclosure with a cement floor. She had no nourishment devices, she has nowhere to play, run, swim and nowhere to hibernate,” Bennett said. “Eighteen years, that’s more than half of my lifetime. It’s crazy to me and I think absolutely she needs someone speaking up for her. She can’t do it herself.”
McDaniel has yet to comment on the pending lawsuit. Our phone calls were not returned.