PETA Statement: Reston Zoo Faces Federal Complaint for Alleged Animal-Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet has released a statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s complaint against Reston Zoo and its owners, Eric and Meghan Mogensen:

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) needed 18 pages to document the abuses perpetuated at all three roadside zoos operated by Eric Mogensen and his daughter Meghan—who’s already racked up a conviction for cruelty to animals for drowning a wallaby named Parmesan in a bucket of water and then dumping his body in the trash. Meghan and her father then falsified a report claiming that they had humanely euthanized him, as part of a pattern of cruelty and deceit that they’ve only continued at Reston Zoo. The USDA found that the facility was denying animals basic care to treat and prevent painful lameness, parasites, mastitis, stillbirths, and eye and skin disease. Zoo staff had also left animals outdoors in subfreezing temperatures and fatally failed to offer veterinary care to animals, including a camel suffering from hair loss and severe stiffness, observed by USDA officials to be in physical pain. The way to protect animals from roadside zoos is clear—steer families elsewhere.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” More information about our campaign is available at

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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