Feds Cite Local Roadside Zoo After PETA Flags Ailing Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 18, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Roswell, N.M. – After PETA alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the dire state of animal care at Spring River Park & Zoo, the agency cited the city-owned roadside zoo for failing to meet the minimal requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Spring River’s violations include failing to provide the equipment needed to treat a stumbling, underweight longhorn steer with overgrown hooves and failing to maintain structurally sound enclosures, which allowed a black bear and a beaver to escape, the latter of whom was never found. The agency also cited the roadside zoo for lacking an exercise plan for a wolf-dog hybrid, an enrichment plan for ring-tailed lemurs, and adequate records for the incoming transfer of two black bears and a mountain lion.

These violations come years after the city unveiled a “master plan,” almost none of which has come to fruition, to improve Spring River. The two bears are still confined to an archaic concrete pit; the bobcat, foxes, coati, and ring-tailed lemurs remain in cramped corncrib cages; and the mountain lion was moved to a new enclosure that’s still mostly barren and too small and otherwise inadequate to meet his needs.

“Roswell has had every opportunity to improve its conditions for animals, yet this facility continues to violate federal law,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on officials either to fulfill their pledge or require Spring River to relinquish the animals to reputable facilities, where they will be cared for at last.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—recently sent a letter to Mayor Dennis Kintigh urging him to block Spring River’s appalling plans to acquire even more animals. The group also renewed its offer to donate funds to improve the roadside zoo—if the city agrees to let the bears be transferred to an accredited sanctuary, which it has so far refused to do.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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