PETA Calls On Feds to Deny Serenity Springs a Breeding Permit

Myriad Big-Cat Deaths, Animal-Care Violations Should Disqualify Roadside Zoo, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
July 30, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Calhan, Colo. — PETA has just filed formal comments with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service opposing Calhan-based roadside zoo Serenity Springs’ bid for a permit to breed endangered animals, including tigers, leopards, and cheetahs. In its comments, PETA documents why the facility cannot meet the legal requirements for a breeding permit under the Endangered Species Act, which requires a conservation breeding program that promotes the survival of the species in the wild. Among other things, PETA points out that Serenity Springs breeds white tigers, which are hybrids with no conservation value. PETA also notes Serenity Springs’ egregious record of mortalities—approximately one-third of the animals held captive there have died over the past five years. Holders of captive-bred wildlife permits are also required to keep animals in “humane and healthful conditions”—a requirement, PETA contends, that Serenity Springs cannot possibility satisfy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—which currently has dozens of charges for Animal Welfare Act violations pending against the facility—many of the deaths at Serenity Springs involved improper handling or denial of veterinary care, including improperly bottle-feeding a bear cub, causing him to inhale milk into his lungs and die.

“This despicable roadside zoo cannot be allowed to breed more animals when all it’s been doing for years is breeding misery,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “All that Serenity Springs deserves after its chronic violations of animal-care laws is to be shut down.”

Serenity Springs’ failure to vaccinate animals led to the deaths of nearly a dozen animals, including a 4-month-old lion, a 7-month-old tiger, and a 10-week-old bear. According to the USDA, the facility’s owner, Nick Sculac—who is not a veterinarian—diagnosed a tiger named Nala as having cancer, and instead of obtaining veterinary care for her, he unsuccessfully attempted to inject her with a euthanasia solution and ultimately killed her by cutting her throat. He was also fined $7,000 by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a volunteer was attacked by a tiger, whom Sculac beat on the head with a shovel.

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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