Gentry safari scrutiny frequent over recent years

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GENTRY, Ark. (KNWA) — A popular Northwest Arkansas drive-through safari is under scrutiny after a video surfaced of a bear attacking a pony. It’s not the first time the park has been questioned.

Controversy surrounding the Gentry Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari is nothing new. Over the last couple years, there have been a number of incidents concerning the park.

After bears, ponies and goats got mixed up in a single cage, a cell-phone video captured a bear clutching a pony in an attacking manner. The park claimed the animal has been checked by a veterinarian and is fine. A video released of the supposed pony shows a few scratches and missing fur.

At one time, there wasn’t a sufficient heating system to handle colder temperatures, so some animals reportedly were frostbitten. That resulted in the safari installing heated floors.

The park violated the Animal Welfare Act 68 times between 2012-16, according to a 2017 Department of Agriculture complaint. The USDA accused the safari of failing to provide sufficient veterinarian care. They also said employees kept animals in dirty conditions.

This forced a closure, and the park fought the claims for a while before deciding to settle. After paying a $75,000 fine, the it reopened in March of this year.

Less than half a year later, the safari finds itself in this situation. Despite the latest round of scrutiny, the park remains open. Business manager Linda Hook said the company is performing an internal review of the situation with the bear and pony.

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