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PETA is calling upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate whether the owner of a New Jersey roadside zoo and pet store did enough to prevent a fire in which two giraffes, up to 15 parrots, and several dogs and cats died. The letter also asks the USDA, “[I]f this loss of life is found to have been preventable, … hold Sipp and Animal Kingdom Zoo responsible.”
Every day has its share of tragedy for captive wild animals forced to languish in cramped enclosures at roadside zoos and pet stores. The fire at Animal Kingdom Zoo is the second since April, when a fire killed Burton Sipp’s wife, Bridget. In the latest fire, a mother giraffe and her calf were locked inside a building, and the mother was crushed to death by a falling wall, raising questions about the facility’s structural integrity. Her calf also did not live through the night. Indeed, just over two weeks before this lethal fire, the USDA cited the facility for 19 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to maintain the structural strength of the giraffe enclosure and numerous other animal enclosures.
Please never visit roadside zoos or facilities that sell animals. You can also help animals at three roadside zoos—Cherokee Bear Zoo, Chief Saunooke Bear Park, and Santa’s Land—by clicking here to urge officials to close these dilapidated facilities.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan