Caught Again: Dade City’s Wild Things Racks Up More Animal-Welfare Violations

Federal Lawsuit Pending Over Allegations of Cruel Mishandling of Tigers; Inspectors Find Unsafe Enclosures, Dirty Drinking Water, and More

For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla.

PETA has obtained an August 25 inspection report, which just became publicly available, of Dade City’s Wild Things—a notorious roadside zoo that subjects young tigers to swimming events and other forced public encounters—that reveals that the facility has been slapped with yet another set of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The violations include, among others, denying adequate veterinary care to an opossum who was being “treated” for a tail injury with a medication that expired in 2012; failing to provide lions, tigers, and coyotes with adequate shelter from the elements; allowing enclosures and fencing to become filthy and fall into dangerous disrepair; and failing to provide llamas with clean, drinkable water.

These citations come a little more than a month after the USDA filed a lawsuit against the roadside zoo for allegedly exposing young animals to systemic stress and abuse by routinely forcing them to “swim” and “play” with members of the public.

“Again and again, we’ve seen that this roadside zoo’s main priority is profit, and not the tiger cubs it forces into cruel photo ops or the animals it leaves to suffer in filthy, unsafe enclosures,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on kind people to stay far away from this abusive facility.”

In addition to the  lawsuit, Wild Things is currently the subject of an open USDA investigation. PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” has submitted a series of complaints about the facility’s cruel and dangerous swimming events, among other cruel conditions at the facility. The USDA slapped Wild Things with a rare official warning in 2009 for violations that included ignoring a tiger’s cries of distress and attempts to get out of the pool during a swimming stunt.

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