Tiger Shooting at Pymatuning Deer Park Prompts PETA Complaint

Big Cat's Killing May Be in Violation of the Endangered Species Act

For Immediate Release:
October 29, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Jamestown, Pa. – On the heels of a newly released federal report that Scruffy the tiger was shot to death at Pymatuning Deer Park on August 5 of this year, PETA sent a complaint today to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claiming that the park violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which prohibits harming, killing, or harassing endangered animals. According to the report, a Pymatuning worker shot the animal based solely on a veterinarian’s visual inspection—with no diagnostic procedures that may have detected whether or not Scruffy had a condition that could have been treated instead of putting a bullet through his body. Because the ESA prohibits killing endangered animals, PETA is calling on the FWS to investigate whether his death amounts to an unlawful “take” of a protected species. The shooting also occurred near a young lion, who may have suffered ear damage, discomfort, and stress. The complaint follows more than two dozen citations racked up by Pymatuning in just the past five months for apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including failures to provide animals with adequate veterinary care.

“PETA is calling for an immediate investigation into the illegal circumstances of this tiger’s death, which may have also violated the Endangered Species Act” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Brittany Peet. “As citations continue to pile up by the dozen, it’s never been clearer that Pymatuning is unable to provide animals imprisoned there with even the minimum standard of care.”

Pymatuning’s violations of the AWA don’t stop there, as documented by PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August 27 inspection report, two bear cubs were observed abnormally sucking on their paws and each other’s ears, an indication of prolonged psychological distress. Two adult bears were still confined to a concrete pit—this can lead to crippling arthritis, which one of the bears shows symptoms of—and the enclosure’s den hadn’t been cleaned since the spring. The facility also risked exposing a baboon to rat poison, allowed waste to build up for months in the zebra enclosure, and failed to maintain enclosures that had rusted and deteriorated, placing the animals at risk of injury.

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