Tag the Bear, Mascot of California Recall, Faces a Lawsuit

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U.S.|The furriest sideshow of the callback run is the halfway of a lawsuit.


Tag, a 1,000-pound Kodiak bear, was the centerpiece of a John Cox run  event.
Credit...Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee, via Associated Press

Shawn Hubler

  • Sept. 10, 2021Updated 8:47 a.m. ET

The run to callback Gov. Gavin Newsom has been going good for the politician lately. Less truthful for Tag the bear.

“Animal rights radical are suing us,” said Keith Bauer, the longtime trainer for the 1,000-pound Kodiak who became celebrated this year arsenic portion of a run stunt for John Cox, 1 of the 4 twelve oregon truthful candidates challenging Mr. Newsom. “It’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Cox, a San Diego Republican who mislaid to Mr. Newsom successful a landslide successful 2018, garnered attraction this outpouring erstwhile helium began making appearances with the carnivore to underscore his run taxable that Mr. Newsom was a privileged “beauty” portion Mr. Cox was a almighty “beast.”

Bryan Pease, a lawyer who leads the committee of the Animal Protection and Rescue League successful San Diego, said the nonprofit radical sued to enjoin Mr. Cox and the bear’s proprietor from bringing Tag backmost to San Diego.

The complaint, filed successful San Diego Superior Court successful May, notes that, different than successful the zoo, municipal codification bans bears and different chaotic animals from the city. It besides alleges that drugs and electrical wires were utilized to support the carnivore docile during appearances, citing an email from Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife, the Kern County supplier of amusement concern animals that owns the carnivore and rents him for events and commercials.

“They said Tag was drugged due to the fact that helium was truthful bully astatine idiosyncratic appearances,” said Mr. Bauer, who was not named successful the suit, which helium called “groundless.”

“Tag is conscionable nice,” helium added. “What bash you privation maine to do? Pinch him successful the butt to marque him mean?”

A spokesperson for Mr. Cox’s run blamed “liberal activists playing authorities done the courts” for the suit and denied that the carnivore was mistreated.

Mr. Pease said his carnal rights radical was “an adjacent accidental assailant,” noting that it precocious sent retired a wide email condemning Representative Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat, for holding a fund-raiser astatine the Del Mar racetrack.

In immoderate case, Tag’s trainer said, helium and the carnivore person had small luck monetizing their run close-up.

“We’ve gotten a mates of jobs,” Mr. Bauer said, taking a interruption connected Thursday from a occupation successful Pittsburgh, wherever helium was moving with a trained squirrel named Nut Nut.

“But it hasn’t changed anything.”

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