Caring people often take jobs working with animals because they want to do what is best for animals yet quickly become disillusioned when they observe animals being systematically deprived, neglected, or abused. Many quit when they realize that their new job requires them to participate in the abuse while others stay on to document problems in the hopes that this will lead to much needed changes. Following are allegations sent to PETA from a former employee of G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park:
“Exactly one week I had worked on the park [when J1] showed up, and from there the crew and I left for St. Joseph, Missouri. There I [saw] how the job really worked. You set up a magic show and cages for the animals and the picture area. All was fine, except I notice the cages, which are kept in a semi with no vent holes and a little bitty air conditioner, which [J1] has admitted doesn’t do anything for the animals [on] the very few occasions they run it, were rather dirty from animal feces on the walls ….
“In those cages were kept two tigers about 4 months [old], one bear about 3 months [old], a chinchilla that was full-grown, a South American raccoon also full-grown or close to it, several invertebrates, two lions about 2 months and 4 months [old], and five baby tigers, three of which were born the day before I came, … and the others a week before I came.
“Now about these tigers, they were born because [J1] needs baby tigers or lions for one of two or three reasons: At the end of his show, he uses a baby tiger, and also people sometimes will name a baby tiger, which costs $800, and other people can pay for things with those baby tigers, such as getting in a cage for $50 for 15 minutes, which is a huge seller for [J1]. So he will breed a couple tigers for his own personal gain, but he tells people lies like [that] the park rescued these tigers from a private zoo in Corpus Christi, Texas, or they rescue these tigers from backyard breeders where 30 were dead and only a couple survived—that’s false …
“Around early June, one morning we came out to the semi like every morning and found the trailer way too hot again. The chinchilla was dead from heat exhaustion, [and] the baby tigers were shaking once we got them outside. All the animals were panting something fierce from the heat inside the trailer. It was a sad and horrible sight to see these animals in this condition. [J1] did nothing about it, but put the chinchilla in a trash bag and threw it away and said he should have put fans in there—THATS ALL!!! Most all the animals wouldn’t eat. We came really close to losing all of them. I dare say another hour—maybe two at [the] very most—and we would have.
“Plus, as if that wasn’t enough, [J1] has pictures taken with the tigers and the younger lion. He sells them to the people, and all day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is easy to see that the tigers after an hour or so are completely fed up with all the commotion. Constantly being picked up and put down all day. Plus they lay on the hard tiled mall floor and then at night lie either on metal mesh floors or tile floors—nothing to comfort them except a small blanket. No enrichment, like something to play with. He from time to time throws a ball or something in the cage. He tells people that these animals are kept on the road for three months, then retired at the park for the rest of their lives—that’s false.
“He will keep the animal on the road in these bad conditions until the animal is unbearable to the crew, then he really just dumps it off to the park staff and leaves on the road again. The road show crew has to tell the public that they are volunteers, which [they] were not. Maybe show them pictures [about] which they tell people false statements, like ‘these baby tigers’ mothers are these starving tigers here [in] this picture.’ One day, a game warden came by and told [J1] that animals were to be with their mothers until they reached 8 weeks, and [J1] told her they were orphans—that’s false.”
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In this Section
- Introduction: GW Exotics
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log | Cruelty
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log | Neglect
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log | Inadequate Feeding
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log | Breeding
- G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park Investigator's Log | Employees
- GW's Exotic Animal Trade
- GW's Sleazy Associates
- GW's Roadshow
- GW's Rapsheet
- GW's Photo Gallery
- The Animals