USDA files complaint against Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry

NEWBERRY, Mich. (WLUC) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a complaint with allegations against Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry.

The USDA filing is against Dean Oswald, Jewel Oswald and Oswald’s Bear Ranch, LLC.

According to the filing, signed and dated Sept. 17, 2021, the USDA says it has reason to believe Oswald’s has “willfully violated the Animal Welfare Act.” (AWA)

Alleged violations against Oswald’s include failing “to provide outdoor housing that was structurally sound and in good repair” and failing “to provide wholesome, palatable food free from contamination and of sufficient nutritive value” to the bears at their facility.

For the housing enclosures, the USDA specifically cites an incident in April 2019, when two bears escaped from their enclosure, which eventually ended in one of the bears being shot and killed by the Luce County Sheriff’s Office.

As for the food allegation, the USDA says the facility didn’t give proper nutritional meals to the bears, because the facility fed them “restaurant scraps, donated meat, produce and dog food, as well as food high in fat and caloric content for the time of the year.”

The USDA complaint says the Oswald’s had to file a response to the USDA’s Office of the Hearing Clerk on the allegations.

“Failure to file an answer shall constitute an admission of all the material allegations in this complaint,” the USDA said in the complaint paperwork.

The USDA complaint did not list a date for when the bear ranch had to respond by.

TV6 has reached out to the USDA and Oswald’s Bear Ranch for comment and more information on this case. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


  1. Maureen Martin

    So PETA couldn’t get anywhere so they sicked the USDA on them. Dean and Jewel have made the Bear Ranch their life’s work and care only for the welfare of the animals in their care.

  2. katherine martin

    I cannot believe they are again getting harassed. The bears at Oswalds are healthy and happy. Anyone who visits there can attest to that. My gosh please leave them alone and allow them to continue their life work without the continual harassmet. It seems USDA, peta and whoever else are the one detrimental to the bears as it takes Dean and his family away from whats important [caring for the bears] and using their time to answer to ignorant allegations.

  3. Buck M Thesystem

    Petting a bear is a CAGE with a cement floor is not a natural habitat prove me wrong .

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