Whistleblower Reports: Workers Injured, Animals Suffering at G.W. Zoo

PETA Alerts Federal Authorities to Condition of Animals, Employee Endangerment at Notorious Facility

For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Wynnewood, Okla. – An employee at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W. Zoo) quit after just one day after reportedly witnessing animals at the Wynnewood facility operated by Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel left to suffer from apparently untreated injuries as well as untrained employees forced into direct contact with dangerous wild animals. Stemming from the whistleblower’s reports, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—today filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

“This isn’t the first time that this seedy menagerie has been accused of leaving animals to suffer from illness and injury and of endangering humans,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the authorities to hold Schreibvogel and the G.W. Zoo accountable for every animal-welfare and employee-safety violation they may find at his facility.”

In a sworn affidavit, the whistleblower reports being ordered to handle a skunk with no protective gloves, even after the animal became agitated and bit the whistleblower, necessitating a trip to the emergency room. Another staff member apparently reported to the whistleblower having been attacked by a monkey two days earlier, and Schreibvogel himself apparently reported having had his “ass handed to him by a tiger.” Employees with no training were apparently also expected to enter enclosures with no barriers between themselves and a hyena, an exotic cat, and other animals. Last year, an employee nearly lost her arm in a tiger attack.

Among other apparently wounded or sick animals, one whistleblower reports observing a yellow python whose spine was allegedly crushed after staff tried to mate her with a boa constrictor. Another whistleblower reported seeing a juvenile big cat bite two members of the public.

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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