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PETA, Alec Baldwin Enter Controversy Over Dillan the Bear

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    HARTLEY TOWNSHIP, PA (WNEP) — A battle over a bear in Union County now has a celebrity involved.

Actor Alec Baldwin recently sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking for his help rescuing a bear from a wildlife sanctuary near Millmont.

Dillan the Bear enjoyed some food on Wednesday inside his enclosure at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club’s wildlife sanctuary near Millmont, where Dillan has lived for 16 years.

But if People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gets its, way Dillan will be moving.

About six months ago, someone filled a complaint to PETA about Dillan’s living conditions. When PETA’s captive wildlife specialist Rebecca Smudzinski came here last year, she tells Newswatch 16 Dillan was the most obese bear she’s ever seen, and his teeth need a lot of work.

She said, “The Union County Sportsmen’s Club has proven again and again it lacks the skills to care for Dillan. Dillan will die if he remains there.”

Actor Alec Baldwin joined the fight by sending a letter to Governor Wolf, saying, “I respectfully ask that you use your power to ensure that authorities hold the club accountable.”

Baldwin’s letter says PETA has secured placement for Dillan at a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado and will transport and care for him at no cost to the sportsmen’s club.

A spokesperson for Wolf said, “We have not yet officially received the letter, but we are looking into this matter. Fair treatment of animals is a priority of Governor Wolf.”

The bear has lived at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club’s sanctuary for about 16 years. He was rescued from another sanctuary in Northumberland County.

The Union County Sportsmen’s Club has nearly 5,000 members. Its wildlife sanctuary has more than two dozen rescue animals.

Club president “Bear” Spangler did not want to speak on camera, but he tells Newswatch 16 all the animals get regular medical care.

He said, “We had state and federal inspectors here last week. We meet all of their criteria.”

Dillan is cared for by a veterinarian in Northumberland County. He told Newswatch 16 it could be risky to sedate Dillan to move him or work on his teeth. Both PETA and the sportsmen’s club say they will continue to fight for Dillan.

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