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Fort Worth Zoo Employees’ Intimate Connection to USGE Revealed

Written by PETA | May 11, 2010

PETA has contacted officials at the Fort Worth Zoo (FWZ) to express our grave concerns about the well-being of frogs, snakes, and other animals at the facility’s herpetarium—dubbed the “Museum of Living Art” (MOLA). We’re urging them to immediately bring in qualified outside consultants to thoroughly review and evaluate the animals’ care and living conditions.

Why are we worried? Because one of FWZ’s animal caretakers at MOLA, Ari Flagle, as well as his supervisor, Mike Doss, were both intimately connected to U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE), from which more than 26,000 exotic animals were seized by authorities, thanks to PETA’s undercover investigation.

Before Flagle started at FWZ, he was a supervisor at USGE, where our undercover investigator documented his abusive behavior toward animals and his blatant disregard for their suffering. Flagle intentionally left groups of animals to “die off” and mocked their agonizing deaths. These animals included an emerald tree boa who died after Flagle left the snake outside in the blazing sun and a group of ailing snakes he called “garbage.” Here’s a video of Flagle’s “Worst Of” moments:

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  • Tom says:

    I know everyone’s going to hate me here, but I’d like to be the voice of reason for one second. When I read the comments, I see awful, vilifying comments that this man should die a horrible death. But when I watch the footage and listen to Ari, I don’t see a man who would intentionally harm animals. I see a man who is watching these animals suffer day in and day out (remember, this is his full-time job), and he has just given up, emotionally. We don’t know the reason why he left USGE; perhaps he couldn’t handle the stress anymore. Perhaps he’s happier now that he’s in a place that has the resources and the space to keep animals happy. For all I know, he could be a horrible animal abuser, which might mean I’m wrong. But when I hear him speak on the tapes, I don’t hear a voice of cruelty. I hear a voice of resignation and defeat. The point is, we don’t know. Why would you wish the death of someone when you aren’t even giving them the benefit of the doubt?

  • suztexas says:

    What are you doing to help?

  • Steve says:

    I know of several well qualified people that would love to have a job as an animal caretaker at a zoo. Yet they hire a frog shaker? Wonderful. I’m pretty sure the excuse of animal enrichment does not work here. Nor does shaking frogs qualify as an acceptable means of euthanasia. I hope he is bitten by an obscure venomous snake with no known antivenin.

  • Lauren says:

    Angela where are you getting the idea that ALL zoos are like that?! I happen to work at a zoo and I will have you know that I have never seen any animal exploited for money. We solely work to educate others about the conservation of our animals. Now does that sound like exploitation?

  • Lauren says:

    This guy is DISGUSTING! I can’t BELIEVE the Fort Worth Zoo had him work for them! It sounds like they didn’t do a thorough background check on him…

  • George Laft says:

    Just wanted to alert PETA a new film is going into production called Water for Elephants her new film with Robert Pattinson Reese Witherspoon which centers around a CIRCUS I assume they will be forcing live animals to participate which no doubt means hours in cages on set…not to mention romanticizing circus’s…

  • Steve A says:

    These people are to animals what pedophiles are to children. Just because people work with animals does not automatically make them animal lovers or in anyway compassionate to animals. The large majority of zoos have people like this in their employment. The problem is they are not always found.

  • annie rogers says:

    hey ari flagle remember what goes around comes around…….you will get yours and so will the people who endorse you and your behavior.tick tock.tick tock

  • John J says:

    Shame on Angela for her over simplified and generalized statment about ALL zoos. Most zoos are wonderful habitats for animals mostly rescued or injured. Calling for the close of every zoo is too radical and only makes you look like a fanatic.

  • Angela Tuson says:

    Carl the zoo board and stakeholders ARE doing their jobs this is what zoos all over the world do they exploit lives for money they sell off ‘stock’ to vivisection labs and they traffic in foreign species. How else can they function? It is not just THIS zoo that must be stopped it is all zoos. The business itself is unethical.

  • Rad_Rosa says:

    what a horrible man..

  • John J says:

    I have kept exotic reptiles for many many years. A lot of these reptile brokers are not very good at what they do. I only buy stock from private breeders some of these are wonderful and really care about the well being of snakes lizards even frogs. It is a tough dilemia when feeding one animal only dead never aliveto another. But that is natures way I guess. I stopped using PetCo and PetSmart for my mice after reading the blog on here. Again private breeders are best very clean and caring. I say avoid this zoo!

  • Iva Bircher says:

    The skinning of the animals over in China is sick and they are still alive afterwards. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO STOP THIS.

  • W.P. says:

    When ever I mention Peta I always hear they are too extreme….it’s the people that are molesting the animals that are too extreme… I am so fed up with the way animals are treated…. Whatever it takes to stop this do it….

  • lisa says:

    Its disgusting that this low life is allowed to get another job working with any kind of animal i watched the video’s ad i have to admit i cried all the way through them i think the last blow for me was when i watched the wallaby dieing infront of the ivestigator and they gently stroked her to give her comfort before she passed away. Any employee or anyone associated with this hell hole should NEVER NEVER be allowed to work with animals again. I really really hope the Zoo will get rid of this evil human being straight away

  • Aneliese says:

    What scum. I’m glad the rest of the world will know what this guy really is.

  • janey abner says:

    this person should not be around ANY animals. he is a total disgrace.

  • janine says:

    I really hope this guys supervisor at the Fort Worth Zoo sees this video. If they have any compassion at all they will not have this guy anywhere near animals or people for that matter. I just do not understand such unnecessary cruelty. The Peta undercover investigators…. I give them a lot of credit no way I could do it.

  • Kate says:

    He should not be allowed to have any contact with animals. The fact that he is allowed to continue to make his living in an animal related field is outrageously unethical.

  • amber says:

    disgusting.. he should die a cruel and painful death.

  • Carl says:

    I’m sorry but this is crime. Profiteers are clearly abusing zoo finances and feeding zoo money into their personal businesses or businesses they receive money or kickbacks from. The zoo board of directors and ceo are not doing their jobs!

  • Pippa Dean says:

    This man makes me sick to my stomach I am constantly amazed at the ignorance and cruelty of mankind…..the worst scourge this planet has known. Thanks for all the work PETA and other causes do to bring to light and stop animals suffering very day! Pippa