Kirshner Leopard Handling Continues After Attack: PETA Calls for Crackdown

For Immediate Release:
December 6, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Oroville, Calif. – A leopard attack at the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation hasn’t stopped the roadside zoo from allowing employees to directly handle big cats—including during a recent display at a local juvenile detention center, whose employees were also allowed to hold a snow leopard cub—so today, PETA submitted a complaint to the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) calling for an investigation into Kirshner’s apparent employee endangerment.

Earlier this year, after an Amur leopard named Royal jumped on a volunteer who had entered an enclosure with him—causing puncture wounds to her neck that required hospitalization—Cal/OSHA cited Kirshner for a “serious” violation of workplace safety regulations. The roadside zoo was required to pay a $1,800 penalty.

“A leopard sent a volunteer to the hospital, and this roadside zoo is still allowing employees to handle dangerous big cats,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the state to crack down on this sleazy operation, which needs to stop harassing big cats immediately.”

After the leopard attack, the U.S. Department of Agriculture also slapped Kirshner with a “critical” citation for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act, noting that after pouncing on the volunteer, the leopard was able to escape into the fenced-in area around the enclosure—all while members of the public were on the property.

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

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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