SaultOnline has learned that officials at Spruce Haven Nature Park had to euthanize the bear that caused them so much controversy with animal rights organizations. Ben the Bear lived at the zoo for over 25 years before he was euthanized last Thursday.

Individuals close to the situation said the bear’s health was in decline for a while and eventually cost him his ability to walk. SaultOnline reached out to Spruce Haven for a comment, however our calls were not returned.


  1. Disgraceful how someone who neither had the facilities or the education to care for this bear properly was allowed to keep in in a small enclosure for over 20 years. I have nothing for people who think this was proper treatment of any animal, especially a wild animal used for profit just so humans can entertain themselves. This animal was abused his whole life. Shameful. May he finally be at peace😥

    • I suspect you are the type that would also say someone speeding and killed in a crash deserved to die. They did the best they could for ALL the animals they took in after Bellevue Park died. Please take your negativity elsewhere

  2. Spruce Haven did not come out of nowhere. It has been many years since Sault Ste Marie closed down the Bellevue Park Zoo. Even nowadays, people remember the tiny cages there. The tiny cages helped keep the shy wildlife close to our viewing. When Bellevue closed, it was Spruce Haven stepped up to take in the animals. Really, we need to do more to finance the legacy of what we dumped off from Bellevue Park Zoo. RIP dear Ben. I am grateful to know that you passed surrounded by people who loved you.

  3. Sad for loss of Ben. It’s very nice he was able to live his life and reach the end of that livpfe in the only home he knew with the family that loved him.❤️

  4. Terrible tragedy that this bear suffered in captivity in such a cruel manner for so many long years and that not only did the owners of this pathetic zoo cause the suffering … hundreds of uncaring morons and city hall enabled it.

  5. Sad that that is where that poor bear had to live heartless people if you ask me and right that place is way to small for a bear its probly one reason it had all the health problems :'(

    • Yes I agree. Sad that people like Melanie never showed up on days where Ben needed something but found it more convenient to just complain about it on media. Not a work glove on her is all. RIP dear Ben. Know that you lived and passed with people who loved you.

  6. Very sad to hear the news, I am so glad Ben got to live his life where he knew, thankfully he wasn’t moved in his senior years from the only home he knew, kudos to the Spruce Haven family for doing what they do so well

    • That’s terrible that anyone would be glad that an unfortunate animal was forced to live in such conditions …
      that statement is like saying leave
      people in the slums they were living in because it’s what they are used to…this poor animal was offered a much more suitable place to live but because of greed was made to suffer the remainder of his life in a pen much too small…with no stimulation or freedom to a free bear would.

      • Tell me that you have no animals held captive in your home. So many condemning and none stepping up to help. Rest easy dear Ben. People loved you where you lived out your life.

    • I am happy for Ben that he was with family when he passed away. Ignore the spaced-out do-gooders who have no compassion for God’s creatures. Ben was where he needed to be. In care of loving people.

  7. Ben and other carnivores at this zoo were offered free refuge at a provincial sanctuary. This offer was refused by the owners and other animals continue to languish at Spruce Haven. City council was given their chance to save these animals but voted against closing this antiquated facility. My guess is it won’t be long before other animals there are euthanized as their geriatric health issues become too heavy a financial burden to Spruce Haven.

    • Is it your way to condemn and do nothing to clean out the cages? Do you step up to help by getting your hands dirty or do you just sling words that mean nothing? Demanding everyone hop to your directive? Get out there and help to care for the animals.

  8. So sad. But at least Ben is out of his misery. Spending 25 years in his tiny enclosure was nothing short of cruelty. How unfulfilling his was his life. Nothing to do, nothing to play with, just hours of pacing back and forth. I wonder if Spruce Haven had even started to renovate his cage in order to give him more room, as they said they were going to last spring. I also wonder how many of the other carnivores housed there have had improvements made to their cages. And is there now a perimeter fence enclosing the “zoo”? More importantly, has ANYONE from council bothered to follow up on the promises that the Marshall’s made regarding improvements for the animals???

  9. Ben was only able to take a few steps in any direction in his pitiful, tiny cage and probably didn’t see the point in trying to walk anymore with nowhere to go. Nothing short of senseless, unnecessary cruelty, courtesy of Spruce Haven and City Councillors Butland, Meyers, Bruni, Grandinetti, Turco, Fata, Krmpotich and Hollingsworth. Let’s hope everyone or at least the people with a heart and something working between their ears remember the names of those that kept him confined to a meaningless, hopeless life along with the other long suffering carnivores still there, with no checks and balances in place due to these councillors idiotic decisions, come election day!

    • Let’s hope that the people who understood the need of wildlife in captivity for a lifetime … as these present animals are … as in your condemned “Spruce Haven and City Councillors Butland, Meyers, Bruni, Grandinetti, Turco, Fata, Krmpotich and Hollingsworth” … voted in good faith that the comfort of these silent creatures was best known by the people in care of them. Who are you anyway in your mind Katherine G. MacRae? Ever get a had dirty cleaning out a cage?

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