Yogie and Friends Warned Against Sending Wild Cats to Cruel Roadside Zoo

PETA and the ALDF Offer to Arrange Animals' Transport to a Proper Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
December 1, 2014

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Shreveport, La. – Today PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent an urgent letter calling on Yogie and Friends to send the wild cats on its property to a reputable animal sanctuary—and not, as is reportedly planned, to the notoriously cruel Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W. Exotic) in Oklahoma.

As ALDF and PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—note in their letter, G.W. Exotic has been charged with more than 60 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for dangerous animal-handling practices, failure to provide animals with drinking water, and filthy and unsafe enclosures. The roadside zoo has a history of unexplained animal deaths, including 23 tiger cubs who died at the facility in one seven-month period. The business has directly caused injuries to—and even resulted in the hospitalization of—multiple people who have been attacked by big cats, leading federal authorities to penalize the business for failing to protect workers.

Inspection photographs at Yogie and Friends show an extremely underweight lion in need of veterinary care and ramshackle housing for a leopard and cougar that didn’t provide them with adequate shelter, so the facility would be doing the right thing by relocating these cats—but these animals deserve far better than a roadside zoo notorious for animals’ deaths,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA and the ALDF stand ready to help move these cats to a proper sanctuary where they’ll finally have acres to roam, fresh food, and round-the-clock veterinary care.”

“G.W. Exotic can’t meet these wild cats’ needs any more than Yogie and Friends can,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado has already agreed to take these cats in—all Yogie and Friends has to do is agree to give these cats a better life.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org or ALDF.org.

 

PETA and ALDF’s letter to Yogie and Friends follows.

 

December 1, 2014

 

Jennifer Treadway Nixon
Fenet Treadway Gaudin

 

Re:  The Transfer of Big Cats From Yogie and Friends

 

Dear Ms. Nixon:

On behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and its hundreds of thousands of members and supporters and on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and its more than 3 million members and supporters—and also as Louisiana residents—we are writing regarding your client Yogie and Friends and that facility’s reported plans to transfer numerous wild cats to a location outside the state of Louisiana, which we are concerned might be The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W.) in Wynnewood, Okla. Because of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) multiple open investigations of G.W. for failure to meet minimum standards of care prescribed by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), G.W.’s more than 60 previous formal charges for AWA violations, a multitude of premature deaths at the facility, and grisly details and inhumane treatment of animals discovered during an undercover investigation, we urge your client to ensure that the cats are instead transferred to a reputable sanctuary that will be able to supply habitats and care that satisfy these animals’ physical, psychological, and veterinary needs. Please inform your client that our organizations stand ready to assist in any way that we are able, including by providing logistical and financial assistance associated with the relocation of the cats to a reputable sanctuary.

Inspection photographs of the facilities and conditions at Yogie and Friends that our organizations have both recently obtained pursuant to public records requests reveal appalling conditions that fall woefully short of bare minimum animal husbandry standards. We urge you and your client to do your due diligence, consider the detailed information about G.W. enclosed in the appendix that follows, thoroughly research alternative options, and—for the sake of animal welfare and public safety—make a decision to relocate the animals to a reputable sanctuary as soon as possible.

Very truly yours,

Carney Anne Nasser, Esq.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Legislative Counsel

Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel
Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

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“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