Feds Fine ‘Worst Roadside Zoo’ Over Vet-Care Failures

For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Failing to provide a limping aoudad sheep with adequate veterinary care and failing to provide animals with sanitary, potable water are just some of the issues that prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fine Waccatee Zoo $7,800, according to records just obtained by PETA. The local outfit, which PETA dubbed the “worst roadside zoo in America,” was fined for six alleged federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations, including the following:

  • It failed to supply adequate veterinary care for multiple animals with overgrown hooves, including a ram with thick layers of crusting above each hoof and ulcerative lesions with fresh blood on all legs. His condition suggested that his ailments were ongoing and had been overlooked. Two llamas were also reported to have significantly overgrown hooves with deviating toenails.
  • It failed to keep water receptacles clean and sanitary. A water receptacle in the dromedary camel enclosure contained murky, green water, while a receptacle in the aoudad sheep and fallow deer enclosure contained cloudy, brown water with sludge at the bottom.

“USDA penalties like this are issued to the worst of the worst, and Waccatee’s history of neglecting animals makes it clear that it fits that bill,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the public to join the push for Waccatee to release these long-suffering animals to reputable facilities.”

The penalty comes after PETA sent Waccatee an official notice warning of its intent to sue under the federal Endangered Species Act in December. PETA notes that Waccatee has a history of AWA citations dating back at least two decades for violations that include failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, failing to keep enclosures in good repair, failing to keep food and water receptacles clean, and keeping bears and cougars in enclosures lacking adequate space. Lila the tiger died at the facility after spending months wasting away, losing fur, and pacing insider her cramped cage.

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 investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter,  Facebook, or Instagram.

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