This morning, the owners and operators of Dade City’s Wild Things woke up to find PETA’s legally required notice of its intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act in their inbox. The notorious Florida roadside zoo subjects young tigers to swimming events and other forced encounters with the paying public.
PETA contends that prematurely separating infant tigers from their mothers, forcing them to interact with members of the public, and confining them to nearly barren concrete pens all constitute unlawful “takes,” defined by the Endangered Species Act as harming, harassing, and/or wounding an animal.
If successful, the lawsuit could have a major impact on the captive tiger overpopulation crisis in the U.S., which is fueled by the huge demand for tiger cubs for use in photo ops and public encounters. While wild populations dwindle, there are untold thousands of captive tigers being held in shoddy roadside zoos and in the backyards and basements of private owners in the U.S., many of which are completely unregulated.
None of these tigers will ever be able to be released into the wild.
“Dade City’s Wild Things is like a nightmarish tiger sweatshop, where terrified cubs are torn away from their mothers, bullied into performing, and then, when they’re no longer deemed profitable, relegated to tiny, virtually barren cages,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA urges families to shun this hellhole and any other business that imprisons and exploits wild animals.”
PETA’s allegations are supported by a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Dade City’s Wild Things for its numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling of tiger cubs.
What You Can Do
PETA is currently working to free the abused tigers and other animals held at another decrepit roadside zoo, Summer Wind Farms “Sanctuary.” Join us in calling on Summer Wind to release all its captive animals to real sanctuaries today.