Victory: Last Tigers at Dade City’s Wild Things on Their Way to Sanctuary Home

Roadside Zoo Reportedly to Shutter Following PETA Lawsuit

For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Dade City, Fla.

Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT) is reported to have closed for good now that the last six tigers held there were sent to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado just days after PETA was awarded a default judgment and permanent injunction in its Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against the sleazy roadside zoo.

PETA’s lawsuit contended that DCWT—which acquired tiger cubs from Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka “Joe Exotic”), the big-cat exhibitor profiled in the Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness—violated the ESA by prematurely separating tiger cubs from their mothers and using them in public encounters. One of the cubs acquired from Maldonado-Passage, 2-month-old Nikita, was used as a breeding machine. A PETA investigation documented that another, week-old Luna, howled and cried during a public encounter. Footage also revealed that a DCWT trainer repeatedly hit her and pushed her into a pool.

“The days of exploiting vulnerable tiger cubs and making a sleazy business out of fueling the captive-tiger overpopulation crisis are about over,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is celebrating the new life that awaits these six survivors, who at last will be able to roam vast habitats, choose to swim if and when they want, and be free of abuse for the first time in their lives.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—rescued a total of 27 tigers from DCWT over the years, including 19 who were sent on a grueling 18-hour trip to Maldonado-Passage’s roadside zoo in Oklahoma in violation of two court orders. The group is currently suing two other players in the tiger cub–petting industry, Jeff Lowe and Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need, and has secured an injunction banning Stark from declawing big cats, separating cubs from their mothers, and exhibiting them to the public.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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