Montana Animal Exhibitor Slapped With Citation After Animal Escape

Small Carnivorous Mammal Apparently Not Recovered as PETA Calls for Facility's Shutdown

For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bozeman, Mont. – Notorious exhibitor Animals of Montana has just been hit with a new citation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing a fisher—a small carnivorous mammal—to escape from an enclosure during routine cleaning. The animal, who escaped from an externally attached den box, had not been recovered as of the date of the citation. This negligence follows a pattern of reckless behavior by Animals of Montana, including an incident just last summer when handlers allowed a tiger to escape during a photo shoot in Detroit and then allowed members of the public to taunt the animal with a weed whacker and hedge trimmers. A trainer at the facility was also mauled to death by a bear in 2012, which the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded was preventable and which resulted in a $9,000 fine.

“As multiple incidents have proved, this dangerous facility’s negligence poses a risk to both human and animal safety,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on authorities to do the right thing for animals like this fisher by closing Animals of Montana down without delay.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Animals of Montana has a long history of violating federal law. Because of its “free contact” system, in which no barriers are placed between human workers and dangerous animals, employees are subjected to life-threatening situations on a daily basis. Animals of Montana owner Troy Hyde was also convicted in 2005 for illegally trafficking tigers in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act, after which his USDA exhibitor’s license was suspended for two 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