Caught! Big-Cat Exhibitor Referred for Fraud Investigation

Michael Todd Tiger Act Operated Without Insurance, With Poorly Trained Staff, Inadequate Barriers

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Kaufman, Texas – Michael Todd—the operator of a traveling animal exhibit called All Things Wild, whose big-cat act has been headquartered in Kaufman, Texas, and who has a history of public endangerment—has claimed to be insured by “The Seacoast Agency,” but a request from PETA to the New York State Department of Financial Services has revealed that the supposedly New York–based insurance company doesn’t exist, prompting the department to refer the matter for criminal investigation.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—warns that just this past November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited Todd for three violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including a repeat violation for failing to train employees adequately. Todd has also been repeatedly cited for failing to have safe barriers between tigers and members of the public.

“On average, captive big cats in the U.S. kill one person every year and injure many more—so Michael Todd’s big-cat act isn’t only cruel to these animals, who belong in the wild, but also an accident waiting to happen,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA wants these wildlife scofflaws brought to justice and is calling on families to stay away from these dangerous, cruel shows.”

A previous inspection of Todd’s business also revealed that employees were being trained by disgraced animal exhibitor Marcus Cook, whose exhibitor’s license was permanently revoked after he was charged with nearly 100 violations of the AWA, including for using a cattle prod on a tiger, keeping animals in tiny and unventilated enclosures, and denying tigers, cougars, and a bear cub adequate water. What’s more, according to a USDA inspection report, the big cats have been held in Kaufman in violation of the AWA, as the site has not been approved by the agency.

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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