4 min read

People Spot Strangest Thing In Corner Of Restaurant Parking Lot

There's a real chance to help them — let's do it.

At first glance, there seems to be nothing unusual about this restaurant set by a pond in the hills. 

Restaurant in Armenia where 3 bears are being held captive
Roger Allen/IAR

But looking a little closer reveals something sad about the otherwise idyllic setting. 

Set off in a corner of the property by a parking lot is an iron fence, and behind that fence are several sets of enclosed steel bars. 

Bears trapped in corner of restaurant parking lot

This is the dismal home of three bears

"I located them by the smell coming from their filthy cage," a recent visitor to the Ashtaraki Dzor restaurant, which is in Armenia, told International Animal Rescue (IAR). "No one seems to care about them."

The restaurant's owner uses the bears as an attraction, according to IAR.

"In spite of criticism and complaints from local animal lovers, he refuses to surrender them," the organization said in a release provided to The Dodo. "They are kept entirely for show, with no attention given to their mental or physical welfare."

Bears trapped in corner of restaurant parking lot

"The bears have no names or medical records," IAR added. "No one knows how old they are or where they came from."

Bears trapped in corner of restaurant parking lot

Undercover footage shows visitors to the restaurant chuckling at the bears as they push their noses against the bars or lean defeatedly up against the walls of their cage. 

"Animal cruelty and neglect is no laughing matter," Alan Knight, chief executive of IAR, said. “These bears deserve to be treated with dignity and respect ... They deserve the freedom to live and behave like bears."

Because local efforts to convince the owner of the restaurant to surrender the bears have failed, IAR has gotten involved in hopes that a more global voice, thousands strong, might convince him. The organization has offered to relocate the bears to a sanctuary and provide them with medical care. And a petition has been started where people can add their voices to the call for freeing the animals. 

"We’re urging everyone to sign and share the petition calling on the restaurant owner to do the right thing and give up the bears," Knight said. "Once we do get the go-ahead to rescue them, we can move them to our center where they will be treated with kindness and compassion."

Bear trapped in restaurant parking lot in Armenia

The recent visitor to the restaurant who spoke to IAR added that the restaurant owner "should seize the opportunity to do the kind and compassionate thing and give them up.”

Ashtaraki Dzor did not reply to The Dodo's request for comment. 

You can speak up for the voiceless bears by adding your name to the petition