Feds Cite Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo for Lack of Vet Care After PETA Complaint

USDA Cites Facility for Issues Concerning a Lion Cub, Chimpanzees, and an Alpaca

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Kingwood, W.Va. – Following a May 11 PETA complaint alerting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) at Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo—including an alpaca with overgrown teeth that impaired his or her ability to eat and chimpanzees who exhibited stereotypical behavior that indicates psychological distress and inadequate environmental enrichment—the agency investigated and cited the facility on both counts. The roadside zoo was also cited for failing to provide young lion cubs with adequate nutrition.

According to the May 25 inspection report, which just became publicly available, Hovatter’s had no record of even contacting a veterinarian about the alpaca’s overgrown teeth—a condition that can lead to weight loss and unnecessary suffering. The report also confirmed that the chimpanzees lacked adequate environmental enrichment items needed to promote psychological well-being and prevent stress and behavior abnormalities. PETA’s complaint also included evidence that the chimpanzees had hair loss—possibly a result of over-grooming caused by a lack of stimulation—and that one chimpanzee repeatedly sucked on his hand for over 30 minutes.

In addition, Hovatter’s was cited for feeding 7-week-old lion cubs a diet of mostly formula, which should be a minimal part of their diet by that age and can lead to dietary deficiencies. The roadside zoo was previously cited for failing to provide big-cat cubs with adequate nutrition.

“Authorities acted quickly on PETA’s tip that Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo had allowed animals to suffer needlessly,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “Animal neglect and distress are the norm at Hovatter’s, which is why PETA urges families to stay away.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has been monitoring Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo for years, and the facility has a long, documented history of failing to meet the most minimal AWA requirements, including citations for handling especially aggressive cubs and exposing young cubs with susceptible immune systems to the public.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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