Alert to Police: Waccatee Zoo May Be Violating State Law

PETA Points to Apparent Unlawful Possession of Big Cats, Calls On Authorities to Take Action

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Armed with more than 20 damning videos recorded at the Waccatee Zoo, PETA sent a letter this morning asking the Horry County Police Department to investigate apparent violations of South Carolina law at the Myrtle Beach roadside zoo.

In the letter, PETA points out, among other things, that only facilities that are in compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) may possess lions, tigers, and cougars in South Carolina—and that the Waccatee Zoo has repeatedly violated the AWA by failing to provide big cats with adequate shelter and veterinary care, among many other violations. If the lions, tiger, and cougar at the Waccatee Zoo are being held unlawfully, the Horry County Police Department has authority to confiscate them.

“The big cats in the Waccatee Zoo’s cramped, virtually barren enclosures are likely being held in violation of South Carolina law,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA stands ready to help Horry County police find reputable wildlife sanctuaries that could provide these animals with the care and appropriate housing that they sorely need.”

The Waccatee Zoo’s recent AWA violations include failing to provide numerous animals with adequate shelter to protect them from below-freezing temperatures. Two black bears were observed pacing repeatedly—as was a cougar last year—which is a sign of psychological distress. And the facility has been cited for failing to provide animals with veterinary care, including to two squirrel monkeys with “severe hair loss and redness” across their hind legs and tails, a goat and several aoudads with overgrown hooves, and a young lion with apparent incoordination in his hind legs, which can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—is asking its members and supporters to urge the Waccatee Zoo to retire the animals there to reputable facilities and to ask the Monster Coupon Book to end its partnership with the facility.

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