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The Animals

Below are just a few of the animals who suffered and sometimes died at G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park:

Julie, the Three-Legged Lion

On his first day on the job, PETA’s investigator met Julie, a three-legged lioness, who had a bloody, raw, and gaping hole where her right front leg used to be. Julie had been attacked by two tigers who literally chewed and tore her leg off and then ate it. The remaining stump of her leg had to be amputated and when she pulled out the stitches, Julie’s open wound went untreated. Though she moaned and whimpered for days, she was given nothing for pain. Julie languished in a small and barren indoor cage on a concrete floor with nothing more than a small towel for comfort. Although she was bred and born at the zoo, [J1] tells people that he “rescued” Julie and that she was injured before coming to the zoo.

‘The Vegas Tigers’

GW’s Holiday 2005 newsletter reported that the Fercos Bros., a Siegfried & Roy wannabe magic act in Las Vegas, gave the park two male tigers who had “outgrown” the stage. Two days after PETA’s investigator started working at the park, the “Vegas tigers,” as they were called, were killed by lethal injection because staff decided they were “mean.” Reportedly, the tigers’ teeth were cut out, and one was decapitated and his head given to the veterinarian’s husband to be mounted. When the Fercos came to visit the tigers in June, they were told that the cats were killed when lightning struck their cage during a storm.

Horses

Two injured horses given to the park suffered horribly before their deaths. One had a broken leg and lay in a field for more than a week, barely clinging to life, engulfed in pain and suffering, with flies swarming around the numerous open sores on his body. When he finally died, he was fed to the lions and tigers. The second horse arrived with an enormous open sore on his tail and was found dead three days after his arrival Park employees said that the horses could not be put out of their suffering with a humane lethal injection because they intended to feed them to the park’s cats. They had intended to kill them by gunshot at a time when they thought the USDA inspector would not be likely to visit.

Oreo the Goat

Always curious and eager for food, a goat named Oreo was constantly kicked aside by staff. One day, PETA’s investigator found Oreo dazed and stumbling around with one of his horns dangling by just a shred of skin and his brain exposed. Oreo was never given any veterinary care for his bloody, gaping wound, and days later he was shot in the head and fed to the tigers.

Camels

A tiger escaped from his enclosure and attacked and seriously wounded a camel, causing puncture wounds to both front legs and one rear leg and severing a tendon. Three weeks later, GW could not provide records to the USDA to indicate that the camel was receiving any veterinary care. GW purchased another camel, a 1-month-old baby named Humphrey, who cried incessantly for his mother and nearly hung himself because of the unsafe conditions.

Primates

Chimpanzees Lilly and Jojo were acquired with the hope that the two would produce babies for use in photo ops. Their tiny cement cage afforded them no opportunity for adequate exercise or to express natural behaviors. Jojo passed the time fighting with the baboon in the adjoining cage, and employees regularly gave Lilly lit cigarettes. Not surprisingly, when a careless employee failed to lock a cage, the two chimpanzees took the opportunity to escape and ended up loose in the building attached to their enclosure. PETA’s investigator helped hold the door closed as Jojo repeatedly threw himself against it in an effort to escape to the outdoors.

Bears

In 2001, Frank, Tesch, and Lyra, three bears traveling with a Russian circus performer, were confiscated by state authorities, taken to GW for housing, and, ultimately, left there. Lyra was reportedly killed by a tiger when a careless employee left a gate open between the animals’ cages.

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  • karin says:

    i feel so sorry for the animals ,people need to stop going to shows,then maybe joe will stop breeding for money,he makes me sick …

  • DragonCrest says:

    They are usually warned before the USDA comes and the underpaid (and untrained)employees are forced to work extra time to get the park in the best shape they can before the USDA get there. And they usually show up a week or two after they say they will. This is in a large part the fault of the USDA also. They need to quit playing games with Joe and start doing their job. And don’t even get me started on his “mental instability!” He’s a real nut case.

  • Judith Weaver says:

    See Joe Wernli’s comment dated 1-28-2011, 1:43 PM. Joe, I don’t believe a word you say. This so-called “park” wouldn’t do anything to help an animal. The stories and pictures PROVE they are merely torturing animals and trying to make a buck off of their abuse and pain.

  • Deb says:

    I’m crying now. This is SICK!!!!! People are so incredibly STUPID!!!!!! OMG soooo heartbreaking!!!!!

  • Mamma Mia says:

    Isn’t think enough to shut this place down? Joe isn’t just a threat to animals, but also people. He has taken pictures where he points at PETA and BCR with GUNS!! This man is mentally imbalanced and is threatening people’s lives.

  • Tanja says:

    This article tells it all. Why won’t they just shut this place down? I’m sure there are enough proofs that Joe isn’t capable to run this organization or take good care of all the animals.

  • JOE WERNLI says:

    FOLKS, I REMEMBER THE 3 BEARS. ISAW THEM SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVAL AND ABOUT 3 MONTHS LATER, ALL 3 OF THEM. YOU COULD HARDLY BELIEVE THEY WERE THE SAME BEARS. THEY WERE FAT HEALTHY LOOKING AND THEIR FEET HAD HEALED FROM BEING IN THE SEMI TRUCK!!! EHEN THEY FIRST CAME TO GW THEY HAD TERRIBLE SORES ON THEIR FEET AND THE PARK PUT A LOT OF SOFT HAY TO CUSHION THEIR FEET.

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