Feds Urged to Terminate License of Animal Trainers Apparently Used for ‘The Marksman’

Exhibitor Reportedly Hired for Liam Neeson Film Caught Illegally Importing Animals

For Immediate Release:
January 18, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Belen, N.M.

PETA has sent a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to terminate the exhibitor’s license of A to Z Film Animals after its operators—who were apparently hired to train a dog for The Marksman—pleaded no contest to criminal charges related to illegally importing animals.

In December 2018, New Mexico wildlife officials found a number of animals in Chelsey and Kip Lewis’ possession who had been illegally imported into the state, including a mountain lion, an American alligator, a coyote, a red kangaroo, and a capuchin monkey. When officials directed the Lewises to export them, they claimed to have sent them to Texas—and when officials later discovered that the animals were, in fact, still in New Mexico, they charged the couple for unlawfully importing the animals and seized several from their property.

“A to Z Film Animals smuggled wild animals and lied to government agents,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on the USDA to strip Chelsey and Kip Lewis of their federal license and urging filmmakers to take a stand against animal exploitation in Hollywood.”

Video footage of the seizure at the Lewises’ property also showed more than a dozen dogs kept in kennels stacked on top of one another in a garage, animals crammed into closets, and a baby mountain lion, who apparently later died, held in a small cage inside the couple’s house.

A to Z Film Animals also apparently provided animals for USA’s Briarpatch, AMC’s Better Call Saul, Netflix’s Godless, and Disney+’s Stargirl.

PETA urges anyone who sees animals being used for film or television productions to report it at PETA.org/Report or contact the group’s whistleblower hotline at 323-210-2233.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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