One of the oldest known black bears living in captivity has been euthanized — but not before savoring a cream-filled doughnut and tapioca pudding as his last meal.
Archie, a 41-year-old bear who had lived in Ohio with his owners Jeffrey and Debra Gillium for most of his life, was put down Friday amid a legal battle with the state and his caretakers, the Medina Gazette reported. The Gilliums had noticed his deteriorating health months ago.
“It was a hard thing to do,” Debbie Gillium told the newspaper. “We’ve both been upset the whole week. I hardly got any sleep last night.”
Archie devoured a big breakfast of dog food, a doughnut and tapioca pudding before he was euthanized by a veterinarian. “He usually doesn’t get stuff like that, but today was a special day and he loves his sweets,” Debra Gillium said. “He licked the tapioca off my fingers.”
The Gillums had been fighting the Ohio Department of Agriculture for a year over whether they could keep Archie despite failing to get a permit when the state issued new rules for keeping dangerous animals. They had been caring for the bear since 1981, according to the Gazette.