PETA Seeks State Probe of Waccatee Zoo

For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Since Horry County law enforcement has failed for years to take any meaningful action against the Waccatee Zoo—where a tiger named Lila recently died after physically deteriorating for a year—PETA has sent a formal request today to Mark Keel, chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), asking him to investigate the roadside zoo for apparent criminal neglect.

“Lila the tiger appears to be the latest casualty of the Waccatee Zoo, where Horry County has allowed neglect to fester for years,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA asks South Carolina law enforcement to act now before more animals suffer in Waccatee’s cages.”

PETA notes that an independent captive wildlife expert who visited Waccatee on three separate occasions since 2019 found that “the severe, widespread animal care deficiencies at Waccatee are indicative of chronic neglect … and constitute cruelty to animals.” Horry County law enforcement refused to meet with PETA to discuss these findings, and the group has documented that the negligent conditions continued to persist and even worsened in some respects throughout 2020. As of this February, PETA documented that a baboon named Handsome appeared weak and lame in his back legs, a black bear had a golf ball–sized growth on his face, and multiple animals were exhibiting signs of psychological distress, among many other issues.

PETA has offered to help SLED identify independent species experts or captive wildlife veterinarians and to help secure placement at reputable facilities for any animals confiscated from Waccatee.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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