Repeat Offender: Feds Cite Wilson’s Wild Animal Park for Cramped Cages—Again!

Latest Inspection Report Reveals Roadside Zoo Continues to Flout the Law With Unimproved Enclosures, Lack of Staff

For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Winchester, Va. – PETA has just obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report revealing that the already-notorious Wilson’s Wild Animal Park has racked up yet another round of citations—all of which are repeat offenses—for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.

According to the January 10 report, which just became publicly available, the facility was cited for the third time since July 2017 for failing to provide two Himalayan black bears with enough space, elevated structures to climb on, and an adequate water feature. The bears—who are housed in a small chain-link pen with a concrete floor—were observed sitting together in a corner of their enclosure, possibly in an effort to huddle together to keep warm as temperatures dipped below freezing last month. Other ongoing offenses that the roadside zoo was supposed to have addressed months ago include keeping three tigers in a cramped enclosure with no water features, confining two lions to an inadequately secured enclosure—making escape possible and putting the public at risk—and failing to employ enough workers to care for the animals properly.

“Wilson’s Wild Animal Park is making a mockery out of authorities by demonstrating a lack of concern for what is required of it by law,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “As the bears continue to suffer while confined on concrete and authorities lollygag, PETA is calling for this decrepit roadside zoo to be shut down and all the animals in its custody released to reputable sanctuaries.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—documented that the bears at the facility were panting in the heat last summer in their tiny concrete cage. The group submitted multiple complaints to the USDA, such as one in October 2017 referencing numerous additional animal-welfare concerns at the roadside zoo, including that a llama with facial skin lesions was in contact with the public and lynxes and a bear were pacing repeatedly—a sign of severe psychological distress.

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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