Re: How long is too long?
Hand delivering a letter to him means nothing in court---especially since you did not actually do the delivering. You need to send him a Certified Letter with a Return Receipt Request asking for your bear and your money back and give him a "reasonable" amount of time---like 10 days. 11 days AFTER he has recieved your letter, if he has done nothing, you may then file a claim in Court. Your local DJ can help you with the paper work.
Realistically, however, it doesn't sound like things are going well for this guy so you may be out the money---you can't get blood out of a turnip. You may also be out your animals.
If I may ask, why did you wait this long to try to do anything about it? I mean, wouldn't it stand to reason that if he couldn't complete the job in a year or so and took work in after you that you would be in serious jeopardy the longer you waited?
Send him a Certified letter explaining that you are willing to take legal action to resolve the situation and see if that doesn't make things happen. I wish you wouldn't have waited so long though.....