For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Troutman, N.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Zootastic Park for failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and noted that the tails of two squirrels at the facility had been amputated because of apparent “self-trauma.” The citations came after PETA alerted the agency twice that a Prevost’s squirrel appeared to be suffering from a tail injury at the roadside zoo.
PETA also alerted the USDA to an injured wolf who appeared to be suffering from flystrike, a painful condition in which maggots feed on flesh. During the inspection, the agency found three wolves with open wounds and thick, crusty scabbing on their ears “consistent with chronic fly strike”—yet staff had not conveyed the condition’s severity to a veterinarian. Additionally, the USDA cited Zootastic after finding multiple rats eating food in the Patagonian cavy and chicken enclosure.
“Animals at this seedy outfit haven’t received adequate care, resulting in the amputation of two squirrels’ tails as well as three wolves’ ears being eaten by flies,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on Zootastic to send all the animals to reputable facilities before it receives its next citation.”
Zootastic has a history of receiving federal citations following PETA’s complaints. Earlier this year, the USDA cited the roadside zoo for failing to notice that several animals suffered from lameness, after PETA alerted the agency that goats were hobbling. And in 2019, after hearing from PETA, the USDA cited Zootastic for exhibiting an apparently distressed juvenile tiger—who was shown in a Facebook video lying down, unresponsive and panting—at a public event.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.