"It was an elderly lady who had been running this sanctuary for decades," Steve Jenkins, founder of Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada, tells The Dodo. "It was a wonderful place. They had done wonderful, wonderful work."
But as she got older, the woman found herself increasingly overwhelmed and unable to care for the animals. Bear developed severe arthritis. He was malnourished, with barely enough hair to cover his back. His toenails had grown to the point of crippling him.
"It's not that she had bad intentions or wasn't good at what she did," Jenkins says. "She had just gotten too old and couldn't handle it any more."