Loose Lemurs and Panting Bear Get Help

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

The PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement (CALE) division fights for two-legged animals, four-legged … and even three-toed:

  • Everyone knows that pandas and tigers are in real trouble, but did you know that there are believed to be fewer than 100 pygmy three-toed sloths left on Earth? Yet inexplicably, these animals still aren’t protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). So last year, the Dallas World Aquarium attempted to kidnap nearly 10 percent of the entire remaining population of these sloths from their natural habitat on an island off the coast of Panama and keep some of them at its tawdry zoo. Sloths suffer from high mortality rates in captivity, and the pygmy three-toed sloth’s full diet isn’t even known. CALE filed official comments in support of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to list the animals as endangered under the ESA so that they can be given the protection that they deserve.

lemur

  • After a concerned citizen took photos of three lemurs from the Staples Safari Zoo running free at the North Franklin County Fair in Ozark, Arkansas, CALE asked the USDA to conduct a prompt inspection of the zoo’s owner, Brian Staples, for possible violations of the AWA. Staples has a long history of violating federal law, including previous animal escapes and attacks as well as confining big cats to filthy, feces-encrusted enclosures. Three AWA cases have been filed against Staples, yet he continued to be cited for numerous serious violations. His license is reportedly due to be suspended next month. CALE asked the fair never to hire Staples—or any wild animal act—ever again.
  • Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) permanently revoked notorious exhibitor Lance Ramos’ (aka “Lancelot Kollman”) exhibitor’s license in April 2009 after charging him with multiple Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations, Ramos tried to obtain a new license. When that effort was properly rebuffed, he appealed. Although his appeal was denied, Ramos appealed yet again, and a judicial officer has just affirmed that the denial of a new license was appropriate and added that Ramos isn’t allowed to exhibit under anyone else’s license—something the USDA was erroneously considering until CALE weighed in. Ramos attempted to circumvent his license revocation by partnering with another chronic AWA violator, the Hawthorn Corporation, and was caught by CALE illegally exhibiting animals at a Shrine circus performance in Texas in 2012.
  • CALE asked the USDA to pursue criminal charges against notorious animal abuser Marcus Cook for continuing to display animals, even though his exhibitor’s license was revoked after he was charged with nearly 100 violations of the AWA. Cook’s apparently illegal activities have been aided and abetted by Michael Todd, who operates a Chicago-based traveling zoo called All Things Wild, by allowing Cook to travel and display tigers with him all over the country. CALE asked the USDA to terminate Todd’s exhibitor’s license immediately and lay the groundwork for criminal charges to be filed.
  • Since January 2013, the USDA has cited The Mobile Zoo in Alabama for at least 47 AWA violations—18 this summer alone. CALE sent an urgent letter alerting the USDA to photographs and video footage taken by a recent visitor to the facility that show, among other issues, a black leopard suffering from an oozing eye condition—likely the same condition for which The Mobile Zoo was cited more than a year ago—as well as a tiger limping in apparent pain, dangerously rusted and sagging fencing on the bobcat and lion enclosures, and a bird with red, swollen, oozing eyes. CALE urged Alabama authorities to deny this outfit’s state permit, which will soon expire.
  • A visitor to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, aka the “Monroe Zoo”, in late August (the zoo didn’t have a license to exhibit animals at the time) reported seeing a bear with thickly matted fur who was panting heavily and appeared to have trouble walking. The visitor also saw animals who had no access to food or shelter from the hot summer sun, food that was contaminated with flies and animal waste, and even a dead quail lying among live quails inside a filthy display. CALE asked the USDA to investigate the zoo for possible violations of the AWA, including the exhibition of animals without a license.
  • Elephant exhibitor Have Trunk Will Travel has been caught on tape electro-shocking and beating elephants, so why does the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, California, continue to hire this outfit to provide rides? CALE asked the fair board to sever ties with Have Trunk Will Travel, since the company unabashedly defends its use of bullhooks .

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the cases that CALE has worked on recently. If you see an animal in trouble, please, contact us right away.

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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