Roadside Zoo Must Not Move Tigers Sent by Dade City’s Wild Things

PETA Asks Court to Hold Animal Exhibitors in Contempt After Unlawful Transport of Big Cats From Florida to Oklahoma

For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla. – The federal court in Florida presiding over PETA’s lawsuit against Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT) has granted PETA’s request and ordered the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park (aka “G.W. Zoo”) in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, not to harm or transfer the 19 tigers it received from DCWT in July.

On July 15—after the court granted PETA’s motion to compel a site inspection of DCWT and the tigers held there—the roadside zoo loaded 19 tigers, including three pregnant ones, onto a double-decker cattle trailer and shipped them for more than 18 hours in the summer heat to Oklahoma. One gave birth during the trip, and her three cubs died. Five other tigers were transferred to two facilities inside Florida, leaving DCWT’s tiger cages empty when PETA’s team arrived for the court-ordered inspection on August 4. (DCWT had refused PETA access during its first attempted court-ordered inspection on July 20.)

The federal court is now considering PETA’s three motions asking the court to hold everyone involved—Kathy, Randy, and Kenny Stearns of DCWT as well as Joe Maldonado and Jeff Lowe of G.W. Zoo—in contempt of court for conspiring to violate the court’s order, the penalty for which could include jail time. PETA also moved the court to allow Maldonado and Lowe to cure their contempt by releasing the tigers into a reputable sanctuary.

“Neither of these notorious tiger breeders is above the law,” PETA Foundation Vice President and deputy general counsel to PETA Delcianna Winders says. “PETA stands ready to help the scofflaws at G.W. Zoo cure their contempt of court by transferring these tigers to a reputable sanctuary where they’d be able to roam, explore, run, climb, and live like the wild animals they are.”

The underlying lawsuit from PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—challenges DCWT’s practice of separating newborn tiger cubs from their mothers, forcing cubs to interact with the public, and transferring them to other roadside zoos or warehousing them in virtually barren enclosures once they’re too big to be used in encounters.

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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