Franklin’s ‘Bear Path Acres’ Hit With Official Warning Over Animal-Welfare Violations

Following PETA Complaints, USDA Scolds Roadside Zoo for Failing to Provide Vet Care and Leaving Animals to Languish Without Shelter

For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2016

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Franklin, Va. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has hit notorious roadside zoo Bear Path Acres in Franklin with an official warning for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This includes repeated violations for failing to provide animals with adequate shelter and dry ground and failing to provide a serval, who was suffering from a wound on his tail—which appeared brown and wrinkled with missing fur—and who was observed aggressively biting at the affected area, with veterinary care. The USDA issues an official warning—which puts an exhibitor on notice that any further AWA violations may result in an administrative lawsuit, which can lead to license suspension and the seizure of animals—when a facility has particularly egregious AWA violations and/or a history of chronic issues.

Other AWA violations include two separate incidents of inadequate drainage that resulted in standing water inside enclosures and extremely muddy conditions—several animals, including raccoons, coyotes, pigs, lions, a lone hyena, and a tiger who was covered with mud, had virtually no area where they could stay dry. Most recently, the USDA cited Bear Path Acres for leaving an alpaca to suffer from matted and potentially irritating wool and having structures in disrepair, unsanitary conditions, and an apparently insufficient number of employees.

“This official warning shows that Bear Path Acres either can’t or won’t provide animals with the most basic care,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling for this ramshackle roadside zoo to send these neglected animals to reputable sanctuaries where their complex needs can be met and they’d be safe.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has monitored Bear Path Acres for years.

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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