Empty Water Bowls, Feces, Injured Animals: Meet Deer Haven Mini Zoo

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Deer Haven Mini Zoo is no haven for animals. The roadside menagerie in Keymar, Maryland, is well-known to PETA and inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Years of complaints from PETA and USDA citations haven’t persuaded the owners to provide the animals with adequate care or let PETA arrange for them to be transferred to reputable facilities. So we’re turning up the heat.


On September 16, PETA held the first of many upcoming protests at the roadside zoo in order to urge its owners to allow us to arrange for all the animals to be transferred.


Eyewitnesses have repeatedly found that animals at the shabby facility were forced to live in filthy, feces-ridden cages with frozen, dirty, or completely empty water bowls. Animals were routinely denied veterinary care, and many exhibited signs of psychological distress. Inspection reports from the USDA show that for the last year and a half before its exhibitor license was canceled, Deer Haven received citations during every single inspection for failing to meet the federal Animal Welfare Act’s minimum animal-care standards.


Thanks to your calls, the roadside zoo was pressured to release Lily the bear to a sanctuary in Colorado in November 2016. At Deer Haven, she was morbidly obese and was forced to live on a small, filthy concrete slab. In her new home, her naturalistic habitat provides her with acres to roam, and she’s lost at least 200 pounds of excess weight.

Since Lily’s move, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has sent a notice of intent to sue Deer Haven, and it was able to rescue several Patagonian cavies, Arctic foxes, and lemurs as well as a coati and a bobcat. One of the rescued foxes had a significant limp, and two lemurs were missing portions of their tails. Even though the USDA canceled Deer Haven’s exhibitor license and it’s no longer open to the public, there are many animals still suffering at this deplorable facility.

PETA has offered to help place the animals remaining at Deer Haven in reputable facilities at no cost to the roadside zoo’s owners, but they’ve refused to do what’s right. Until the facility agrees to retire these abused animals, it should get used to having advocates at its gates and on its phone lines. You can help the animals trapped at Deer Haven by urging the roadside zoo to release them today.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind