For Immediate Release:
June 8, 2018
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382
Tampa, Fla. – Following the permission granted by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida this week, PETA has filed an amended complaint in its Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT) to include the deaths of three tiger cubs.
PETA’s ESA lawsuit contends that prematurely separating tiger cubs from their mothers, forcing the cubs to swim with paying members of the public, and failing to provide the tigers with adequate housing and care violates the ESA’s prohibition on harming or harassing protected wildlife. After DCWT shipped 19 tigers halfway across the country—a trip during which the three cubs died—in an attempt to prevent PETA from conducting a court-ordered inspection of the animals, PETA sought to hold the facility in contempt. DCWT countered by claiming that its use of tigers doesn’t violate the ESA and asked the court to dismiss PETA’s complaint.
PETA moved to amend its complaint—a motion the court has now granted. In allowing PETA to add the three tiger cubs’ deaths to its complaint, the court noted that the group’s allegations about these deaths would constitute “serious harm” in violation of the ESA. The contempt matter is now to be reconsidered by the magistrate judge, who previously recommended that DCWT be sanctioned for its “relentless bad acts,” “brazen misconduct,” “outrageous conduct,” and “complete disregard for the rule of law.”
“The court’s ruling allows PETA to hold Dade City’s Wild Things’ feet to the fire for sending 19 tigers on an 18-hour journey without air conditioning or water, which proved deadly for three newborn cubs,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “Nineteen tigers have subsequently been relocated and are recovering at a reputable sanctuary, and PETA’s lawsuit is working to ensure that this facility will never possess tigers again.”