SeaQuest in Hot Water Over Dangerous Public Handling of Otter

Feds Cite Notorious Aquarium Chain After Otter Reportedly Injures Visitors

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Fort Worth, Texas – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report from February revealing that SeaQuest Fort Worth was cited for allowing members of the public to interact with an Asian small-clawed otter, named Xander, without an adequate barrier in place, resulting in visitors sustaining two wounds in one month. The report comes after a visitor alerted PETA that staff said that the otter gets put in “time-out” inside a cramped wire kennel, including overnight, and that people reportedly stuck their hands through fencing to pet the animal, who repeatedly bit their fingers.

“Otters are sensitive animals who deserve to be left in peace, not crammed inside a tiny kennel and harassed by crowds as this prisoner of SeaQuest was,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is urging kind people to reject cruelty by refusing to set foot inside any of SeaQuest’s miserable operations.”

Numerous former SeaQuest staffers have come forward with allegations of appalling neglect and abuse, including that animals were reportedly starved and routinely denied veterinary care. At SeaQuest’s Littleton, Colorado, location, at least 41 people—including a visitor who sustained a serious hand laceration from being bitten by a monitor lizard—have reportedly been injured by animals. Just last month, SeaQuest’s Las Vegas aquarium was reportedly cited and fined $2,000 for unlawfully breeding otters, and it’s also reportedly the subject of an open investigation into claims that two employees there were bitten by a coatimundi. Former employees at that location have also alleged that birds were stepped on and killed, turtles were crushed by children, and an octopus died after being boiled alive in a tank.

PETA, along with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida and activist Ana Campos, recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Fort Lauderdale for violating zoning laws when issuing SeaQuest a permit to open a location at a local mall.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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