Local Wild-Animal Exhibitor’s License on the Line After Slew of Violations

For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bozeman, Mont.

Following a complaint from PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun the process of terminating notorious wild-animal exhibitor Animals of Montana’s (AOM) federal license. For over two decades, AOM’s owner, Troy Hyde, has trucked animals all over the country for use as living props in movies and advertisements and racked up a laundry list of animal welfare and employee safety violations, including allowing a tiger to escape during a photo shoot, then directing a member of the public to threaten the tiger with a weed whacker, and placing employees in dangerous proximity to bears, causing an employee to be fatally attacked.

PETA’s complaint pointed out that because AOM has violated state and federal laws pertaining to transportation, ownership, neglect, or welfare of animals—including 22 violations of Montana captive-animal regulations that resulted in the state permanently revoking its roadside menagerie permit—the USDA could and should terminate AOM’s federal Animal Welfare Act license. The agency has now taken the first step toward doing so by filing an order to show cause for the termination of AOM’s license.

“This shameless profiteer kept wild animals in filthy and appalling conditions and repeatedly put them and the public in danger,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA urges everyone to avoid supporting seedy operations like AOM by shunning any form of entertainment that exploits animals.”

The USDA terminated AOM’s license in 2009 for violating the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act but granted Hyde a new license two years later. Since then, AOM has accrued 29 more violations of state and federal laws, including keeping wolves in “unsanitary” and “over-crowded” cages; failing to provide wolves with drinking water—according to reports, the wolves “were either out of water, water was froze [sic], or what was left in the bottom was brownish-black from saturation by fecal matter”—allowing a fisher to escape (who was never found); failing to properly secure the cages of potentially dangerous animals, including a bear, a coyote, a bobcat, a Siberian lynx, a black leopard, an arctic wolf, and a gray wolf; and failing to clean a cross fox’s cage for several days, leading to the accumulation of “a significant amount of feces.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. 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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