Local Roadside Zoo Under Fire From Feds and PETA for Ailing Animals, Decrepit Enclosures

For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Mineola, Texas – After a former employee-turned-whistleblower alerted PETA to the appalling conditions and lack of animal care at Mini “S” Exotic Zoo, the group submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), prompting the agency to cite the roadside zoo for scores of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The violations include a critical citation over the death of a marmoset who was let out of an enclosure and electrocuted in a rodent trap—and that citation resulted in an official warning from the agency.

“A former staffer at Mini ‘S’ Exotic Zoo was so disturbed by the neglect and mistreatment of the animals held there that they turned to PETA, and we will continue to monitor this cesspool of suffering,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “Anyone disturbed by these revelations can do their part by avoiding this and all other roadside zoos as if lives depended on it, because they do.”

The USDA cited Mini “S” Exotic Zoo for failing to provide numerous ailing animals with veterinary care, including a South African springhare with hair loss who was wobbly on her back legs, a cotton-top tamarin and two fennec foxes with hair loss, red-ruffed lemurs with loose stools, and a sand cat with eye discharge and hair loss on the nose. The roadside zoo was also nabbed for its filthy, insect-ridden enclosures and for housing primates in tiny cages, leaving exposed electrical cords near animal enclosures, and subjecting a sloth to improper temperatures.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that Mini “S” Exotic Zoo forces animals into stressful and exploitative public encounters that endanger both the animals and visitors.

For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, 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