Feds Confirm: Animals Suffering at Decrepit Colorado Roadside Zoo

Serenity Springs Racks Up New Animal Welfare Violations for Inadequate Veterinary Care, Rough Handling Following PETA Complaint

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Calhan, Colo. – After PETA alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to a visitor’s report that animals at Serenity Springs Wildlife Center were forced to interact with members of the public for extended periods of time and that one was suffering from an apparent injury, the USDA cited the facility for failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, failing to handle animals in a manner that does not cause unnecessary discomfort, and failing to maintain safe, structurally sound enclosures, among many other violations.

According to the report, which just became publicly available, USDA inspectors observed an 8-week-old tiger cub, Milo, who was being used for photo ops over the course of six hours with no apparent or documented breaks, despite the young animal’s visible distress, which was demonstrated through vocalizing and squirming. The line for photo ops was long, and Milo was reportedly the only cub young enough to be used for photos. The report also notes that adult tigers at the facility suffered from untreated chronic eye conditions, lameness, malnourishment, and muscle loss.

“The authorities have confirmed what visitors keep telling PETA: Animals are suffering at Serenity Springs,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “People who care about animals should never buy a ticket to this or any facility that subjects terrified, crying baby tigers to hours of handling by untrained members of the public.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—submitted its complaint to the USDA on July 25. Further citations on USDA’s seven-page report include failing to have an environmental-enrichment program for two lemurs; more than a dozen instances of deteriorating, splintering, or dangerously sharp enclosures; containers of moldy, spoiled food in the facility’s walk-in refrigerator; and a dead, desiccated mouse in the room adjacent to the food-prep area. In addition, nearly three dozen big cats had little to no protection from hot, direct sunlight.

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