Is Tiger Escape a Sign of Illegal Animal Sales at Dade City’s Wild Things?

PETA Alerts State Authorities to Suspicious Photographs, News Reports of Cub Found Wandering Texas Streets

For Immediate Release:
May 3, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla. – Today, PETA submitted an official complaint to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) calling on the agency to investigate Dade City’s Wild Things—a notorious roadside zoo that subjects young tigers to swimming events and other forced public encounters—for possibly illegally selling or transferring animals to an untrained, inexperienced, and unlicensed person.

PETA’s complaint includes information about a young tiger cub found walking along the streets in Texas, social media photos of a Texas woman and her young daughter apparently playing with a tiger cub in their home (which have now been deleted), and an expert declaration that the photos do indeed show the same cub, Bindi, who was used in paid photo sessions at Dade City’s Wild Things until recently. The photos suggest that the woman, apparently an animal hoarder who subsequently sold Bindi to a third party, acquired the cub from the roadside zoo—possibly via an illegal sale or transfer—and took her back to Texas. It is illegal in Florida to sell tigers without authorization from the FWC.

“Thank goodness this tiger is now safely at a sanctuary, but countless others used by money-hungry businesses like Dade City’s Wild Things end up being sold to anyone at all,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “No reputable facility would entrust a fragile young tiger to someone ill-equipped to care for the cub, and PETA is calling on Florida officials to investigate this facility and end any illegal animal sales.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Dade City’s Wild Things has a long history of violating the law. In addition to citing the facility for numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a lawsuit against the roadside zoo last year for allegedly exposing young animals to systemic stress and abuse by routinely forcing them to “swim” and “play” with members of the public.

PETA’s letter to the FWC is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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