PETA Victory! Relief for Big Cats As Dade City’s Wild Things Reportedly Closes

Published by Danny Prater.

Victory! Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT), which has long been on PETA’s radar, is reported to have closed its doors after the last six tigers once held there were sent to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. This comes just days after PETA obtained a default judgment and permanent injunction in our Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against the sleazy Florida roadside zoo. Relief for the long-suffering big cats comes after thousands of compassionate people like you joined PETA in calling on DCWT to provide them with the adequate care and privacy that they’d been denied.

PETA’s lawsuit established that DCWT—which acquired tiger cubs from Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka “Joe Exotic”), the big-cat exhibitor profiled in the Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness—violated the ESA by prematurely separating tiger cubs from their mothers and using them in public encounters. One of the cubs acquired from Maldonado-Passage, 2-month-old Nikita, was used as a breeding machine. A PETA investigation revealed that her cubs were taken from her within days of their birth. PETA also documented that another tiger, months-old Luna—whom DCWT acquired from Maldonado-Passage when she was just a week old—howled and cried during a public encounter. Footage also revealed that a DCWT trainer repeatedly hit her and pushed her into a pool.

“The days of exploiting vulnerable tiger cubs and making a sleazy business out of fueling the captive-tiger overpopulation crisis are about over. PETA is celebrating the new life that awaits these six survivors, who at last will be able to roam vast habitats, choose to swim if and when they want, and be free of abuse for the first time in their lives.”

—Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement

PETA has rescued a total of 27 tigers once held at DCWT over the years, including 19 who were sent on a grueling 18-hour trip to Maldonado-Passage’s roadside zoo in Oklahoma in violation of two court orders. We’re currently suing two other players in the tiger cub–petting industry, Jeff Lowe and Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need, and we’ve secured an injunction banning Stark from declawing big cats, separating cubs from their mothers, and exhibiting them to the public.

dade city's wild things closed after peta push

Tiger Cubs and Other Wild Animals Suffer for Photo Ops

You can help end the abuse of animals in the entertainment industry, which includes tearing families apart and forcing vulnerable baby wild animals into stressful direct contact with a steady stream of tourists.

Animals aren’t ours to imprison, gawk at, or touch, yet thousands of them are kept caged in barren, filthy enclosures at dilapidated venues. Please, never visit roadside zoos, marine parks, or any other tourist attractions that encourage direct contact with animals or profit from their exploitation and suffering.

Take Action for Animals in Roadside Zoos

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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