Chained and Used As Bait For Fighting Dogs — Masha is Finally Freed by Rescuers

When someone says the words “animal rescue” your thoughts will almost always go to dogs and cats. Sometimes other small pets, but usually not to larger animals. Certainly, most of us wouldn’t think an animal like Masha would need a lot of help.

They need help

There are rescues for almost every species of animal you can name. There are cat rescues, dog rescues, bunny shelters, and even safe havens for reptiles and amphibians.

But, what do you do when you know about a bear being abused and neglected? Have you ever seen a hotline number for a bear rescue or shelter?

That was the dilemma when a pitiful bear named Masha came to the attention of some animal lovers in the Ukraine.  She was living on the grounds of a dog training area where she was used as a “bait bear” to train hunting dogs.

It’s bad enough when people use animals as bait for fighting dogs. But, this somehow seemed just as sad, even though Masha was a lot bigger than the usual “bait” animals.

Despair and neglect

Masha’s life was a sad circle of despair. During the training sessions, she was tied up without food or water and would be attacked by dogs trained for dog fighting, which is all in of itself a horrible crime.

When they took the dogs away, it didn’t get any better. They would allower to to get off the chain, but she wasn’t free. She would go directly back into a cage that was so small she couldn’t even sit upright in it. This happened day after day after day.

Ukraine | 2013 09 | Rescue Mission of bear Masha to BS Nadyia at Zhytomyr |

Nobody seemed to notice, or care, that Masha was extremely neglected and malnourished. She was thin, her fur was dirty and matted, and the soiled concrete floor of her cage hurt her paws. She also had chafing on her neck from the collar and heavy chains that she was forced to wear every day.


Then, one day, everything changed. Someone did notice. And someone did care. Four Paws International, an animal rescue organization, heard about Masha’s plight. They alerted authorities who confirmed the case of animal cruelty and arrested the owner.

The authorities finally helped Four Paws come to an agreement with the owner.  They convinced him to give Masha to the volunteers. So, a very bewildered Masha traveled 12 hours from Kharkiv to Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

For probably the first time in her life, Masha ate fresh fruits and vegetables during the ride. Once she arrived at their sanctuary, veterinarians examined her thoroughly.

They immediately removed the heavy chains and allowed Masha to swim in a freshwater pond to help her skin and hair begin to recover.

Then they started the proper treatment to get her body on the road to recovery. The most important part of that recovery would be a new rich diet–consisting of chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, fruits, and vegetables–to help her gain weight.


Masha is thriving under the excellent care provided. She is finally living a life that she deserves. Has always deserved.

She has land to roam on, safely. Now, she has trees to climb, toys to play with and pools to swim in.

She will never be chained again. Best of all, she will never have to face the snarls and snaps of dogs bred to kill her.

Masha now lives with a small family of other bears that have been rescued from the same sorts of situations that she lived through.

Four Paws, with their two sister shelters, hopes to rescue as many bears as possible from the terrors of bear baiting. One bear at a time they are making a difference.

If you’d like to check on Masha’s progress, and perhaps make a donation to help provide her continuing care click here.

Source: The Animal Rescue Site

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Written by Kim Hays

Kimberly has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. Her mantra is, write, proofread, rewrite, bang head on desk, then edit. If you’ve ever written anything on a deadline, you can relate

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