PETA Alerts Authorities to Reported Neglect at Waccatee Zoo

Group Urges Horry County Police Not to Pass the Buck: County Must Investigate Visitor's Report of Animal Illnesses at Decrepit Facility

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Based on a citizen’s report that animals at the Myrtle Beach–based Waccatee Zoo are suffering from apparent illnesses as well as the Horry County Police Department’s failure to respond adequately to concerns, PETA has sent urgent letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Horry County Police Department urging both agencies to open serious investigations, immediately inspect the animals at Waccatee, ensure that they receive appropriate veterinary care, and take any enforcement action necessary if they’re being neglected in violation of animal-protection laws.

In early January, PETA reported to Horry County Animal Control that, among many other issues, a visitor at Waccatee had observed that a pig was suffering from crusty and pus-filled eyes, a leopard was rubbing his bleeding ear on a chain-link fence, and animals had no apparent access to clean water. However, an officer with the Horry County Police Department promptly dismissed PETA’s concerns—without confirming whether anyone had actually examined the facility’s veterinary records—and initially attempted to avoid looking into the matter altogether by incorrectly claiming that the zoo falls solely under the USDA’s jurisdiction.

“PETA is calling on federal and local authorities to do their jobs,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “The Horry County Police Department has an obligation to protect animals in its jurisdiction—and that includes making sure that the animals at Waccatee Zoo are not sick and suffering in violation of local and state cruelty-to-animals laws.”

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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