Dade City’s Wild Things Slapped With Notice of Impending Lawsuit Over Abuse of Tigers

PETA Argues That Tearing Tiger Cubs From Their Mothers for Swimming Encounters With the Public Violates the Endangered Species Act

For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla. – This morning, PETA sent its official notice to Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT)—a notorious roadside zoo that subjects young tigers to swimming events and other forced public encounters—notifying the facility of its intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which requires plaintiffs to inform potential defendants of their intent at least 60 days before filing an ESA lawsuit.

In its letter, 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” (that is, the tigers are harmed, harassed, and/or wounded) in violation of the ESA. If successful, this suit 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 photo ops and public encounters. While wild populations dwindle, there are untold thousands of captive tigers being held in shoddy roadside zoos like DCWT and in the backyards and basements of private owners in the U.S., many of them completely unregulated and none of whom can ever be released into the wild.

“Dade City’s Wild Things is like a nightmarish tiger sweatshop where terrified cubs are ripped from their mothers, bullied into performing, and relegated to tiny, virtually barren cages when they’re no longer deemed profitable,” 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 DCWT for its numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling of tiger cubs.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

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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