Three Deaths at Local Zoo Prompt Call for Cruelty Charges

PETA Releases Inspection Reports Revealing That California Living Museum Allowed Animals to Die From Starvation, Severe Flea Infestations

For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bakersfield, Calif. – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on the Kern County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the California Living Museum and its operator, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and charge them with cruelty to animals following the deaths of three animals at the Bakersfield roadside zoo.

According to a recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report from February 12, 2019, two fisher cats died after staff failed to treat them for severe flea infestations. The necropsy report of one fisher mentions “thousands” of fleas, and the USDA’s report concludes that the “[f]ailure to treat health conditions may lead to unnecessary pain and distress in animals, and in this case, their death.” An inspection report from April 16, 2019, reveals that a skunk at the facility was found dead. The animal was necropsied and found to have starved to death. The facility had no procedure in place to monitor whether animals in shared enclosures were all eating, and the animal curator reported not having enough staff to care for the animals.

“Any reasonable animal care facility would notice if an animal were starving to death or if fleas were eating animals alive,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the Kern County Sheriff’s Office to hold the California Living Museum responsible for the neglect that led to these animals’ slow, painful deaths.”

PETA has also written to the Kern County superintendent of schools, whose office operates the California Living Museum, urging her to transfer the surviving animals there to reputable facilities. PETA offered its assistance in finding appropriate placements for the animals, but that offer was refused on July 9.

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

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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