For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2020
David Perle 202-483-7382
Dade City, Fla. – Late yesterday, the district court judge in PETA’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT) adopted the magistrate judge’s recommendation that PETA should prevail in its suit and DCWT’s counterclaims should be dismissed. The recommendation was made as a sanction for DCWT’s misconduct in July 2017, when it moved 24 tigers—19 of them across state lines—to thwart PETA’s court-ordered site inspection. The court has awarded PETA its attorneys’ fees and stated that it will issue a permanent injunction.
PETA’s lawsuit contends that prematurely separating tiger cubs from their mothers, forcing cubs to swim with paying members of the public, and failing to provide tigers with adequate housing and care violates the ESA’s prohibition on harming or harassing protected wildlife. The group is seeking a permanent ban on tiger possession for DCWT; its owner, Kathy Stearns; and her son, Randy Stearns.
Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet:
Dade City’s Wild Things is now answering for years of tearing baby tigers away from their mothers, using them as photo props, and warehousing them in virtually barren cages. PETA’s forthcoming victory in this landmark case could signal the beginning of the end for tiger cub encounters—a huge force behind the captive-tiger overpopulation crisis in the U.S.
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and more information about the group’s lawsuit against DCWT and about the eyewitness investigation that preceded it are available at PETA.org.