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PETA Calls On Florida Agency to Take Action Against Dade City’s Wild Things

Roadside Zoo Forces Rabbit, Fawn to Swim With Visitors; Allows Children to Use Live Pythons as Paintbrushes

For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla. — This morning, PETA fired off a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urging it to investigate Dade City’s Wild Things immediately for apparent egregious violations of Florida’s wildlife laws and regulations—and, if appropriate, strip the facility of its license and confiscate the animals exhibited there.

As PETA points out in its letter, Wild Things offers “swimming encounters” with animals, including tigers, a lynx, a coyote, a rabbit, a fawn, and a pig. Repeatedly forcing young, non-aquatic animals to swim on command with human beings is extremely stressful and frightening for these animals and likely violates Florida’s captive-wildlife and cruelty-to-animals laws. The group also points to photographs of a lynx swiping at a child and appearing to try to bite a man at Wild Things, illustrating how wildlife encounters also place human participants at risk of injury from the frightened animals’ claws and teeth.

“It should be obvious that forcing terrified piglets and bunnies—or agitated coyotes and lynxes—to swim with shrieking human visitors is dangerous and cruel,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the state to investigate Dade City’s Wild Things—and if this hellhole for animals cannot or will not meet exotic animals’ need to be free from harm and harassment, the state should shut it down.”

Other apparent violations of Florida’s captive-wildlife laws at Wild Things that are addressed in PETA’s complaint include allowing children to use live pythons as paintbrushes, housing predator and prey species together, and planning to construct a zip line over a tiger enclosure, among others. Direct contact with exotic animals also exposes human participants to the risk of contracting salmonellosis and other zoonotic diseases.

PETA’s letter to the FWC is available upon request. For more information, please visit