PETA received a worried call from a witness who said that she had spotted an unresponsive bear lying in a cage at the G.W. Zoo, along with what appeared to be fresh blood. PETA alerted the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A game warden raced to the G.W. Zoo the same day, the USDA got there the next day, and the bear was apparently peacefully euthanized. Strangely, the facility’s owner, Joe Schreibvogel, posted a message on his Facebook page stating that the bear had been mauled by another bear a full two weeks earlier. The evidence suggests that Schreibvogel had deprived the bear of needed veterinary care after the attack and thus made him suffer further, an apparent violation of Oklahoma law. PETA is now asking the district attorney to pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against Schreibvogel. If convicted of this felony cruelty offense, he’ll face one to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000. And Schreibvogel is currently the subject of at least four other USDA investigations.
The following was originally published on April 15, 2014:
The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (aka “G.W. Exotics” and “G.W. Zoo”), the sleazy menagerie that buys, sells, trades, and breeds animals—and profits from using baby animals for public photo opportunities—can add yet another citation to its lengthy rap sheet, which already includes multiple Animal Welfare Act violations. We’ve just found out that a PETA complaint prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to cite G.W. Exotics for failing to have protective barriers between workers and animals, among other violations. PETA contacted the agency and asked it to investigate after a tiger ripped part of the arm off a woman working at the facility.
As OSHA has repeatedly recognized, having employees in direct physical contact with big cats, bears, and other dangerous animals places them at risk of serious physical harm and even death.
A PETA investigator who exposed the cruelty, neglect, and dangerous conditions at G.W. Exotics in 2006 was often required to work for more than 12 hours per day in hazardous circumstances. You can help animals and people by encouraging your congressional representatives to support legislation to protect big cats and public safety.