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Posted on Aug 17, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 1 comment

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Pimps Out Big Cat Cubs

It’s 2016 and Zootastic is still pimping out cubs.

A concerned citizen went to visit Zootastic in North Carolina and took photos and video of the cub petting taking place there. In September 2016 they took photos and videos of a white tiger cub with horrible ringworm being used for cub petting and a liliger suffering from what appeared to be severe mange. Just two months after filing her compliant with USDA, Zootastic was fined over $7,000 and slapped with 9 animal welfare violations! According to records obtained by PETA, Zootastic Park—a disreputable roadside zoo that PETA has lodged complaints against for years—was penalized $7,450 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in November 2016 for nine violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.  More at https://www.peta.org/blog/zootastic-park-fines/

Your voice matters!  When you see something SAY something.

What Visitors Say about Zootastic

My son and I visited Zootastic Park at 448 Pilch Rd, Troutman, NC, 28166 this past Saturday, September 17th, and we saw some things with their big cats that concern us terribly.  We did the Tiger Cub Encounter and the white tiger cub named Thor appears to have something wrong on his skin.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but had some suspicions.    Thor was also very hoarse when he talked.  I thought he sounded very strained and he cried out often and appeared very distressed and stressed out.

Also of concern, out in the park where they have their new enclosure for the tigers, they have a sickly looking Li-Liger Cub (I asked the keeper/handler on my encounter about this animal) and he said the animal belonged to someone else, but they are doing the best they could for him. He has close to no hair and his skin looks awful.  He is also being tormented by an adult white tiger female in that same enclosure.  I saw her grab him by the neck and get on top of him to show him she was boss.  She did it many times and swatted at him.  Before I left, he decided to fight back and show her he was tired of it.  Very, very disturbing to witness.  They have NO WHERE to go to get away from the torment!  And this poor little guy also has an open wound on top of one his paws.

I sent this info and photos to Carole Baskin at Big Cat Rescue to take a look at because I know she’s an expert on the big cats.  She believes it may either be Ringworm or Mange on Thor the cub.   This is a huge problem because they allowed us to touch the cub!  I have cats at home and this would be devastating to bring home.  For the Li-Liger cub, she said it looks like Mange.   I am requesting that you have an Inspector sent out to Zootastic Park right away to investigate these issues.  Please.  If the cub has Ringworm or Mange, as you know both are highly contagious,  then this is a huge public health risk!   The public can touch the animal.  I told Carole  I was told that Thor is 12 weeks old and they got him at 3 weeks of age she said that means the cub was sold AFTER it became illegal to take the cubs from their moms for handling before they are 4 weeks of age (see the USDA below).  If the cub was transferred across state lines at 3 weeks and money changed hands, then it was a violation of the USFWS rule below.

4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more: http://bigcatrescue.org/usfws-rescinds-generic-tiger-loophole/

4/3/2016 USDA cracks down on abuse of cubs under the age of four weeks.  In response to a 2012 legal petition filed by The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance making clear that exhibitors violate the Animal Welfare Act by allowing members of the public to handle or feed infant exotic cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards.  Read more:  http://bigcatrescue.org/usda-announces-partial-cub-petting-ban/

Please take a look at these photos and video I took of Thor the White Tiger cub and photos of the Li-Liger cub.  Thank you so much for your time and concern!

liliger at Zootastic 2016

This mangey looking cub was being tormented by bigger tigers in the cage

liliger tormented by tiger at Zootastic 2016

This might be the worst case of mange or ringworm we’ve ever seen

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

The spots on his legs, chest, belly, face, toes and read end look like ringworm

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

Despite an obvious skin condition this cub is being pimped out as a pay to play object

Name Withheld

USDA Citations 2014 – 2016

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Jul 05, 2016
Direct:		 1
Non-Critical:	 7
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Zootastic 2016-07-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 16, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Zootastic 2015-05-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
May 19, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 172
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Zootastic 2015-03-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Mar 13, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Zootastic 2015-02-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Feb 11, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 213
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Dec 30, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Zootastic 2014-11-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 05, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 21
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

Back in 2014

It has been reported that Zootastic, in Troutman, NC is charging people to play and pose with big cat cubs.  As usual, these kinds of operators insist that they are “legit” and that they are breeding for conservation and that paying them to play with cubs will result in conservation and a lovely life for the cubs when they grow up and are sent to undisclosed, other facilities.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

These USDA inspection reports show continuing violations of animal welfare standards and when the cubs are sent to other places you can be sure they will be equally as bad or worse.  No legitimate facility would allow Zootastic to continue to exploit cubs and then dump last year’s babies on them.  That just perpetuates abuse.

Zootastic-10-2014-11-29 at 8.27.31 AM

Zootastic-11-2014-11-29 at 8.27.19 AM

Zootastic-14-2014-11-29 at 8.26.45 AM

 

Zootastic-2014-11-29 at 8.26.08 AM

 

Zootastic-2012-contaminated-food-inadequate-cages-illegal-purchase-348121512108140

Zootastic-2013-flies-210130904561467

Zootastic-2013-unsafe-dirty-cages-rats-316131202595636

Zootastic-2014-endangering-public309141411110578

Zootastic-2014-inadequate-caging-253141518120028

Zootastic-2014-smelly-cages-97140845575176

Zootastic-tiger-bit-guest-unsafe-cages-filthy-food-73131539185435

 

As soon as they opened, in 2012, they were exploiting cubs

 

Last holiday hoorah at Zootastic Park

Although the holiday is over, and 2012 is undeniably under way, Zootastic Park, one of the region’s more unique attractions, wants to stretch that holiday feeling for a little bit longer.

The park’s operators say, given the difficult economy, they want to give back to the community for its support of the zoo throughout the year. As a final present under the tree, Zootastic is holding over its “Wonderland of Lights” spectacular for one last time.

One of the largest holiday lights displays in the area, Zootastic will flip the switch back on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission to the display is free.

With more than 1.5 million lights along the two-mile drive, the display concludes with a computerized light show in Zootastic’s “Western Town.” After viewing the lights, visitors are invited to enter the zoo to visit the animals. There will also be opportunities to have pictures taken with Zootastic’s baby tiger cub, ride a pony and more.

The Christmas Wonderland of Lights is located off I-77 at Exit 42 between Mooresville and Troutman. From I-77 North, turn left off the exit ramp and then right on Ostwalt-Amity Road. Zootastic Park is one mile further on the left.

The park will open for its pre-season on March 3. For more information, call 704-245-6446 or 888-966-0069 or visit www.zootasticpark.com.

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Posted on Jul 30, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Dave Salmoni

Dave Salmoni

ACTION ALERT!

Tiger cubs should NOT be exploited by Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni!

It’s happened yet again: a young tiger cub is being exploited and used as a television prop by Animal Planet’s co-called “big cat expert” Dave Salmoni. Just last week he brought a 2-month-old tiger cub named Olive on NBC’s Today Show as well as People Now, and perhaps other shows.

Dave Salmoni claims he is a conservationist. In reality he is a self-promoting big cat trainer from Ontario’s notoriously abusive Bowmanville Zoo, a private menagerie and breeding/training facility for performing exotic animals used in film, TV and circuses. The cubs Salmoni brings to television studios likely come from roadside zoos, unaccredited breeders or from Michael Hackenberger, Salmoni’s mentor and the disgraced owner of the Bowmanville Zoo, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty after investigators filmed him brutally whipping a young tiger 19 times during a single “training session.” “I like hitting him in the face,” Hackenberger says in the clip.

This is the type of person that represents Discovery Inc. and Animal Planet and is touting Project CAT, a project created by Discovery Inc. to promote Global Tiger Day? It’s sickeningly ironic that Salmoni is promoting awareness of endangered wild tigers by forcing a captive tiger cub to perform unnatural behaviors such as appearing on television shows and enduring bright lights and noise and petting by the hosts! And there is no tracking of what happens to these poor cubs after they are too big for him to exploit this way.

Salmoni claimed on the Today Show, as most breeders and exploiters of cubs do, that the mother tiger rejected Olive the cub. However, cubs used for petting and exhibition on television are usually snatched away from their mothers shortly after birth so they do not bond with their mothers and are more easily used as entertainment props.

By bringing self-proclaimed “experts” like Salmoni to cuddle endangered wildlife on-air, media outlets such as Discovery, Animal Planet, the Today Show and People Now are actually doing a great disservice to wildlife. Instead of fostering education, respect for animals, or concern for wild populations, viewers are left with the exact opposite message – that it’s okay to drag cubs around as television props.

So now we NEED YOUR HELP. Please speak up for little tiger cub Olive…we are her voice!

See Olive’s appearance on the Today Show:

https://www.today.com/video/kathie-lee-and-hoda-meet-a-baby-tiger-named-olive-1283337795716

Take Action Here:  Letter to the Editor

 

2018 Investigative Report on Dave Salmoni

In my opinion, Dave Salmoni is not a conservationist, behaviorist, or “animal expert,” but a big cat trainer from Ontario’s notoriously abusive Bowmanville Zoo, a private menagerie and breeding/training facility for performing exotic animals used in film, TV, and circuses. The cubs Salmoni brings to TV studios appear to come from Michael Hackenberger, Salmoni’s mentor and the disgraced owner of the Bowmanville Zoo, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty after investigators filmed him brutally whipping a young tiger 19 times during a single “training session.” “I like hitting him in the face,” Hackenberger says in the clip. Just a few months after that video was released, another clip emerged showing Hackenberger speaking almost gleefully about beating his animals. “I can carve my initials in their side,” he brags of his skills at whipping tigers. Later, speaking about a group of wolves, he shows off the wooden stick he uses to beat them. “You smack ’em, and they generally fold like a house of cards. And that’s the beauty.” A Bowmanville Zoo administrator later acknowledges Hackenberger’s violent training methods, stating, “You throw them down on the ground so they know who’s boss. That’s basically Michael’s way of working all animals.”

In a 2009 interview, Dave Salmoni reverently refers to Hackenberger as “one of the best cat trainers in the world—he put me in situations to teach me how to fend off an attack; how to gag a lion with a wooden crook and stop them coming forward, or if they are on top of you, the little skin fold in their lip where you can put your finger, and stop them from biting you. Over the years now, I’ve probably had a few hundred fights with captive lions, or good play wrestling, where you practice that gag, or block their teeth and learn the techniques.”

Leading big cat conservationists affiliated with legitimate organizations like Panthera and the Wildlife Conservation Society warn that Salmoni’s sensationalized, entertainment-focused “education” is impeding genuine conservation efforts and sending the wrong message to viewers.By bringing self-proclaimed “experts” like Salmoni to cuddle endangered wildlife on-air, media outlets are actually doing a great disservice to wildlife. Instead of fostering education, respect for animals, or concern for wild populations, this is the message viewers are leaving with:

In 2009, Salmoni filmed a show called “Into The Pride,” which featured him deliberately harassing wild lions in a Namibian national park in an attempt to “tame” them. Salmoni somehow believed that habituating the lions to people would make them less likely to come into conflict with humans, and told an interviewer that “those lions are unfazed by human contact, and that’s the way it needs to be.” Legitimate lion conservationists, who know that habituating wildlife to people is not a good thing, were furious. Dr. Luke Hunter, Executive Director of Panthera (the most respected big cat conservation group in the world)  wrote an article titled “Tormenting Lions for TV” where he chastised Salmoni for being a “self-absorbed ignoramus” and the program for being “self-indulgent baloney” and “made-for-TV nonsense [which] obscures the authentic and far more meaningful conservation efforts undertaken by thousands of passionate, anonymous professionals.”

Wildlife documentary producer Chris Palmer, the director of Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, concurred;  calling Into The Pride “an example of a bad wildlife film” and explaining that Salmoni’s harassment of the lions “makes great television, but lousy conservation. The lions are being gratuitously provoked for the sake of ratings and in the process becoming frightened and needlessly stressed.” 

Salmoni seems to have also proven that he is equally ignorant about animal welfare. Remember that Miami high school which caused national outrage by using a clearly agitated, caged tiger as a prop at their promSalmoni defended the exploitation by claiming that being put on display at the prom was “enrichment” for the tiger — and was promptly criticized by a former zoo veterinary technician, who explained that “this was not enrichment, but a senseless act of cruelty and exploitation. You are clearly in the wrong line of work.”

Salmoni started working as a big cat trainer at the Bowmanville Zoo in 1998, where he apparently “really bought into” Hackenberg’s animal training.  In 2000, with two mixed-subspecies tiger cubs from the Bowmanville Zoo in tow, he moved to South Africa to join a tiger farmer named John Varty for an unscientific and fraudulent “tiger rewilding project.”  The project was filmed and aired on the Discovery Channel as a documentary called “Living With Tigers.”  The project involved training captive-bred tiger cubs to “regain their predatory instincts.”  Once the tigers proved that they could sustain themselves in the wild, they would be released into the wilderness of South Africa — where tigers are not native — to fend for themselves. Nobody with even a shred of conservation knowledge would consider this appropriate, and real conservationists have noted that since the tigers are not genetically pure, the project had zero conservation value. Animals 24-7 says of the documentary:

“The former Bowmanville Zoo trainer Salmoni and Dave Varty were repeatedly shown cuddling and playing with the tigers in a manner opposite to standard wildlife rehabilitation technique, in which contact with humans is minimized and discouraged. They towed dead antelopes behind a truck for the tigers to pounce,  conditioning the tigers to appear at the sound of vehicles  and perhaps, to stalk tourist jeeps. They kept a brother and sister tiger together until the female entered her first heat. They taught the tigers to hunt as a pack,  which no tigers do in the wild. They repeatedly took meat from the tigers to “show them who is boss,”  feeding them later in camp. This taught the tigers to associate human habitation with food. Eventually the Varty brothers proclaimed success in teaching the tigers to hunt, after the tigers killed seven springbok who had been released almost into their mouths.” 
John Seidensticker, chairman of the Save The Tiger Fund Council, and senior scientist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, stated that

“The conservation community is pretty much opposed to this. It’s diverting funds that could be used otherwise.  “Our definition of conservation is securing a place for wild tigers where they live, not a place in Texas or South Africa. There are a lot of people who spent their lives, sometimes at great risk of themselves, to work on (tiger conservation). It is going to be a story, this whole thing, about how to not do conservation.”

After working with Varty’s bogus “conservation” scheme, Salmoni returned to North America, where he continued to cultivate fame as a network TV “animal expert” while maintaining an active relationship with the Bowmanville Zoo as a promoter, trainer and presenter of circus-style exotic animal acts.

If these media outlets are serious about saving tigers, they’ll stop promoting irresponsible, self-proclaimed “animal experts” like Salmoni and instead listen to the real conservationists who say that cuddling wildlife on TV is a con, not conservation.

 

Dave Salmoni Self Described Lion Man Harassing and Endangers Lions

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Watching lions as nature intended – from the safety of a vehicle
(Photo Courtesy of Panthera)

By Dr. Luke Hunter, Executive Director of Panthera

This week, Animal Planet kicked off the latest offering from likable Steve Irwin-wannabe Dave Salmoni. “Into The Pride” follows Salmoni as he attempts to prove that humans can live in harmony with wild lions. To do so, Dave scoots around the Namibian bush on a quad-bike looking for a close encounter with the big cats. You might think a 4-wheeler doesn’t offer much protection but, provided they’re not hunted or persecuted, lions quickly get used to vehicles. A vehicle acts just like a mobile hide which is why millions of people a year are able to enjoy extraordinary experiences watching wild lions from the safety of their safari jeeps and mini-vans in Africa’s great game parks. It even works with ATVs which disrupt the human silhouette sufficiently that Salmoni is on fairly safe ground — so long as he keeps his distance and stays on the bike. The problem is, that’s not daring enough for Dangerous Dave. When he finds the lions, he dismounts and, armed only with his shepherd’s cane, he walks up to them.

Understandably and predictably, the lions get pissed off. In one sequence from the series, Salmoni pulls this stunt with a lioness called Cleo, resting with the pride’s cubs and a gemsbok kill. Now, if someone asked me, how would I go out of my way to really aggravate a lioness, I’d tell them “threaten her when she is protecting her cubs. Or a carcass. Or, if you were an utterly self-absorbed ignoramus, both.” Cleo does what a million years of evolution have engineered her to do when faced with potential danger to her cubs — she charges. Dave shrieks a bit, high-tails it back to the ATV and scolds Cleo for her “inappropriate behavior.” Of course, it’s actually wholly appropriate — any wild lioness so gratuitously provoked is apt to do the same. Once he’s back on the bike, Cleo relaxes a little and backs off. Predictably, that only encourages this bushveld buffoon to try his luck again, and, again, Cleo comes like a tawny missile. She is upset, frightened and angry — all thanks to Salmoni who is determined to show us that, as he recently toldPeople magazine, he was ‘tougher than they were’.

What self-indulgent baloney. Salmoni repeatedly tells us his antics are necessary because these are aggressive problem lions that must be habituated for eco-tourism or they will be destroyed. That would be reasonable if he stayed with his vehicle, just as tourists, researchers, scientists, guides and park rangers do every day across Africa. None of these folks wander up to lions hoping to get cozy (well, occasionally they do but the ending usually isn’t pretty). If Salmoni was honest and respectful about habituating lions for tourists, he’d get them used to vehicles — it’s safer for both human and lion, and it wouldn’t provoke the same distressed fury from Cleo. Ironically, most of the first episode is taken up with encounter after encounter between Dave and his film crew watching lions from their Land Rovers. The tactic yields beautiful vision of lions being lions — Salmoni’s team cops a few baleful looks and one frustrated rev from Cleo when Dave drives too close, but nothing serious. But of course that doesn’t make good enough television so Salmoni makes sure he says ‘these lions hate vehicles’ a lot even after we’ve just watched shots of the cats doing little more than keeping a reasonable distance. And let’s not forget, Dave reassures us this is all in the name of “conservation” so it’s fine to crank Cleo’s stress off the charts.

And to what end? Even if Cleo eventually tires of charging this clown, all he’s achieved is to put her life more at risk. Lions co-evolved with our kind in Africa and generally do their best to avoid us. When wild lions see a person coming, they know enough to either disappear or give fair warning. Walking in the African bush, I’ve been the recipient of their low warning rumble a few times, like the sound of a tractor-trailer changing down gears. Lions tell people when it’s a good time to change direction because they want to avoid conflict. Episode 1 shows a textbook case from one of the males, Brutus, on Dave’s inaugural walk-in (niftily re-interpreted by our hero as the first step in Brutus’ ‘training’. Sheesh). Salmoni repeatedly forces these conflicts onto Cleo and her family in his puerile quest to show us who’s boss. If he succeeds, Cleo is actually a great deal more dangerous. Conditioned out of her natural, sensible instinct to keep people at a safe distance, her normal flight circle becomes perilously small. Someone — perhaps a lion-loving tourist who has seen the show — only need blunder into her and, faced with a perceived hazard at too-close-for-comfort range, she attacks. If it happens, the predictable outcome is that Cleo gets a bullet. Good work Dave.

The greatest shame of this made-for-TV nonsense is that it obscures the authentic and far more meaningful conservation efforts undertaken by thousands of passionate, anonymous professionals working in Africa today. They will never get the recognition that Salmoni craves and they certainly will never see anything like his pay check. But they are the reason that lions and the wild places they need will persist. Salmoni isn’t.

About the Author…
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Dr. Luke Hunter is the Executive Director at Panthera, the leading global nonprofit organization devoted to saving the world’s wild cat species from the diminutive black-footed cat of southern Africa to the massive tiger of Asia. Hunter has conducted fieldwork on large cats in Africa since 1992. His current projects include assessing the effects of sport hunting and illegal persecution on leopards outside protected areas, developing a conservation strategy for lions across their African range, and the first intensive study of Persian leopards and the last surviving Asiatic cheetahs in Iran.

Follow Panthera on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Pantheracats

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Posted on Mar 26, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Who is Vincent Von Duke?

 

and why can’t he be found under any of these names he uses in USDA’s records?

 

He is licensed in Florida to operate out of a Sarasota P.O. Box under ESA # 16769 which was issued on 10/2/11 with his location listed as P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418 and a phone number of 941.938.2138.  His Florida state license states that he and Georgina Donoho are at 14969 Beckett Road in Seagoville, TX 75159.  His email address is listed as vincentvonduke@aol.com

 

In 2004 he reportedly had a USDA license issued to Clyde Bros Johnson Circus Seagoville TX using that same email address above but there is no current USDA license number in that name or any of his other names listed here.  He was said by USDA to have had 6 tigers back in 2004.

 

Despite having a traveling show that appears at second rate fairs there is no explanation for how he is displaying tigers legally.  None of the reporters who have covered his appearances have done their homework to find out who he is, whether or not he is actually licensed to be taking tigers out in public and if so, under what name.

 

On a circus site I was able to discern that Georgina Donoho AKA Pom Pom Donoho was a circus performer and upon searching her name discovered this little old lady has a USDA license in her name 58-C-0788 and, low and behold, it is registered to the same P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418.

 

In Nov 2011 Vincent Von Dukes AKA Georgina Donoho cited for an inadequate perimeter fence at their P.O. Box (no location given) and the report said they had just acquired new lion and tiger cubs and did not have vet care guidance for them.  The report gave them until December 2011 to correct the dilapidated fence, but there was no follow up inspection or report.  The inspection said that they should send in photos of their traveling act cage, but compliance is unknown.

In the following video you can see the cats shying away from him and skulking away in fear.  How can anyone clap or call this entertainment?

This act features one male and one female African lion, two female tigers and one white female tiger.
Vince Von Duke’s wife, Pom Pom Donoho, can be seen to the left of the screen. She conducts various duties during the performance to include hooking up the 20 lb. propane tank for the FLAMING HOOP portion of the act. This was shot in Canton, Ohio on March 24, 2018 at the 7:30 show. This circus was produced by HAMID CIRCUS for TADMOR SHRINE of Canton.  VINCENT VON DUKE performed in Dayton, Ohio in February, 2018 with a circus produced by TARZAN ZERBINI for Shriners.  Please tell the Shriners that you won’t support them as long as they promote abuse in the name of family fun.

 

 

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2011-Nov-15

 

In Vincent Von Dukes April 2011 inspection report there was no adult available to allow an inspection and apparently no itinerary filed with USDA.  Traveling acts are supposed to file an itinerary with USDA so that USDA can send an inspector to the location where the animals will be performing if there are complaints.  Most traveling acts only send these right before traveling because they do not want animal protection groups to know where they will be exploiting animals.

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2011-Apr-16

 

In Vincent Von Dukes February 2011 inspection they were cited for inadequate perimeter fencing and given until April 2011 to correct it, but by the November 2011 inspection it still had not been done.

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2011-Feb-03

 

In Vincent Von Dukes February 2010 inspection at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds he was cited for not following his veterinarian’s prescribed diet for the 8 tigers in his act.

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To update your search go USDA inspection reports.

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Posted on Feb 14, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Tim Stark Wildlife in Need Wildlife in Need

Tim Stark Wildlife in Need

2/14/18 The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction request against roadside zoo Wildlife in Need.  The injunction prevents Wildlife in Need from declawing big cats (tigers), separating cubs from their mothers unless medically necessary and from using cubs in public encounters.

The court highlighted some of the case’s background which affected the decision. The judge cited lack of response by the defendants, both in discovery requests and court orders. Both Timothy and Melisa stark refused to sit for depositions, court document said, noting that “the court had very little, if any, evidence to consider on behalf of Defendants.” PETA filed a complaint against Wildlife in Need in, owned by Charlestown residents Timothy L. Start and Melisa D. Stark, in September 2017 for violations of the Endangered Species Act.

A temporary restraining order was issued by the court on October 4, 2017, preventing the defendants from declawing any of their captive lions, tigers and hybrids (“Big Cats”).  The roadside zoo has been in the news frequently over the past several years.

In October of 2017, Wildlife in Need was connected with an FBI wildlife trafficking sweep. In July 2016, the USDA cited Wildlife in Need for 118 animal welfare violations. The 24-page complaint meant the Charlestown business faced up to more than $1 million in fines and possible closure.  The US Department of Agriculture tried three times to terminate the owner’s operating license between 2015 and September 2016. PeTA vs Tim Stark Wildlife In Need.

 

Tim Stark insisted that both of his leopards were dead. Records show he got the cats from Living Treasures Animal Park in New Castle, Pa. They seemed healthy, he recalled, at four months old, but they were “mean as hell.”

Stark said he remembered the day he found one lying on its side, barely breathing. By the time he got to the leopard, it was allegedly dead.

He grabbed its back leg, and it snapped, Stark recalled. That’s when he came to the conclusion that metabolic bone disease had been what made them so mean. But no veterinarian ever examined the animals, USDA records show.

Three or four days after the first leopard died, Stark recalled, was when the second leopard squalled and screamed and darted at him. Stark said he hit it with a baseball bat.

“I hit it numerous times, over and over and over,” he said. “The last time I seen that cat it was (expletive) dead. I hit it with a ball bat numerous freaking times and hit it plenty hard enough to damn kill a full-grown leopard let alone a damn little leopard.”

So unless the leopard came back to life, he said, he doesn’t see how it could have landed in Doris Armstrong’s yard.

http://wfpl.org/the-troubling-record-of-a-southern-indiana-wildlife-refuge/

PETA called Stark’s property a “roadside zoo.” In addition to potential injuries, PETA believes Stark exposes the public to infectious diseases by allowing anyone to hold and pet wild animals.

“Encouraging the public to handle vulnerable cubs roughly and to hit them when they resist is cruel,” PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders said in a statement.

PETA notes Stark pleaded guilty to illegally trafficking an ocelot and has been cited repeatedly by the USDA for animal welfare violations, including keeping a lion and tigers in cages from which they can easily escape, providing bears and tigers with water containing “floating clumps of algae,” and failing to provide animals with any shelter from the heat.

Last year — PETA said citing a USDA inspection report — the zoo had no attending veterinarian and two sick leopards died without receiving any veterinary treatment.

Note:  Golden Tabby tigers are merely inbred and crossbred tigers and not a subspecies that serves any conservation program.

 

WILDLIFE IN PERIL?:

Former employee, volunteers express concern over animal operation

 

By KRISTINA GOETZ Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting | Posted Nov. 23, 2014

CHARLESTOWN — In the wake of a Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting investigation that found a history of problems at an Indiana exotic animal refuge, current and former members of the organization have come forward to talk about their experiences at the facility.

Meanwhile, legislators who’ve received recent complaints about Wildlife in Need Inc. are looking at potential changes in Indiana law.

KyCIR’s investigation showed Tim Stark’s exotic animal facility in Charlestown has been cited by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors for a variety of problems over the past several years, including having enclosures that are not adequate to prevent big cats from escaping, and allowing cubs that are too old and too aggressive to interact with the public.

Former Wildlife in Need employee Travis Ellis, as well as a current volunteer and a former volunteer, portrayed the organization as in distress and disarray. They allege Stark is dismissive of authority, has contempt for veterinarians and uses volunteers who have good intentions but little to no background in animal care.

The volunteers — who provided evidence of their work there — spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

GROWING CONCERN

Ellis does not have a degree in animal science but said he grew up around exotic animals and is a licensed falconer in Tennessee. Officials there say Ellis is in compliance with state regulations and has a good track record.

Ellis met Stark when he was animal curator for Kentucky Down Under, he said, and then the two started doing business together. Ellis grew concerned while working for Stark this summer.

“On my side of the tent, we gave people a pretty safe experience with the exception of using that tiger and that bear,” he said of the exotic animal encounter show.

Ellis believes people should be able to interact with exotic animals. He just doesn’t think Stark’s operation is a safe place to do it.

Ellis said he was bitten and clawed by a large tiger this summer. He has photos of the encounter as well.

During the last show of the evening one August night, Ellis told a crowd of about a dozen visitors to get ready for the finale.

“Remain in your seats,” he remembered saying. “Please don’t make loud noises. Don’t attempt to touch her.”

For a moment, he disappeared behind a door but returned with a 250-pound tiger on a woven-knot leash with a leather loop. Just feet away — with no barrier in between — visitors watched the year-old tiger put her paws on two volunteers sitting on the ground, Ellis recalled. He said he tugged the leash to lead the tiger in a circle in order to show off her stripes.

“Once I pulled her away from these girls, she reared up on top of me, grabbed me in my armpit with her teeth and stuck her claws in my back,” he said. “I played it off. The public had no clue what was going on.”

Still feeling the sting of the cat’s teeth, Ellis walked backward out the side door to the tiger’s holding pen.

“She was chewing on me, and she was growling,” he said. “I was still up. I knew if I ever got down it would be bad.”

The tiger hung on, Ellis said, until one of the volunteers smacked her in the nose with a plastic bat.

Ellis scrambled out of the cage, bleeding from four puncture wounds, and slammed the door. He walked back in the tent.

“The public was still sitting there so I had to suck it up and finish the show,” he said.

Ellis claims Stark had little to say after the incident and seemed more upset about what visitors had seen.

“When the cat incident happened, and he wouldn’t take responsibility … that was the final straw,” Ellis said.

He never worked there again. He did not file a complaint with any agency.

Stark did not return an email or a phone message left on Wildlife in Need’s voicemail requesting comment.

In a previous report, Stark said interaction with wild animals is a big part of his operation.

“But the way I look at it, if you’re going to have these animals, they thrive on that interaction. They deserve it, and it’s supposed to be that way,” he said.

One former volunteer said she quit after she found herself crying every day about the animals.

Other volunteers have forged bonds with the animals and don’t want to jeopardize their ability to spend time with them, according to a current volunteer. She questions what she saw there, from dirty cages to overcrowding.

This volunteer was asked over the summer to help with a Tiger Baby Playtime fundraiser event during which patrons paid $25 to play with tiger cubs in a group.

“I was told, ‘If they’re staring, and their ears go up, and they lock onto someone, especially a kid, keep your eye out for that and get in the middle.’ I did not feel comfortable doing that. What you’re telling me is that I’ve got to watch for the tiger to attack someone and stop it? Are you kidding me?”

OFFICIALS TALKING

KyCIR’s investigation of the facility also has caught the attention of several legislators who’ve fielded calls from constituents about Wildlife in Need. A spokesman for Rep. Todd Young, D-Ind., said his office has received letters and phone calls from three constituents who were concerned about both the animals’ welfare and public safety.

“We have been working with the USDA to identify an appropriate point of contact for concerned citizens to reach out to,” spokesman Trevor Foughty said.

On the state level, state Sen. Michael Crider, a Republican who represents District 28 in suburban Indianapolis, said in a phone interview this week that he plans to introduce legislation for the third year in a row that would require a permit for everyone in the state who has certain types of exotic animals.

Currently, a permit is required for people who own these animals as pets. But those like Stark who have United States Department of Agriculture permits to be animal exhibitors are exempt from state regulations. Crider wants dual jurisdiction so Indiana officials have the authority to inspect the property along with the feds. He’s also looking at restrictions other states have implemented.

“This issue is not going away,” said Crider, who retired after 30 years as an Indiana conservation officer. “In fact, in some cases it’s gotten a little bit worse since I first started talking about it. Hopefully we can come up with something that we can get passed, and it will provide for adequate oversight.”

State Rep. Steven Stemler, D-Jeffersonville, said he has been aware of people’s concerns about the facility for some time and would support Crider’s proposed bill. Several constituents called his office last year when they heard a leopard was shot and killed by a neighbor near Stark’s property. USDA officials have yet to definitively determine whether the animal belonged to Stark.

“Personally I think our responsibility is to provide public safety for citizens,” Stemler said. “And whenever there is a question of public safety that is possibly compromised — and in this case with exotic animals — then there should be oversight that is allowed to ensure that safety.”

Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, has received calls from constituents about Wildlife in Need and knows that neighbors have concerns about the facility.

“As I’ve spoken with folks they became frustrated probably with me because I had to tell them openly, hey, the state has no jurisdiction over the facility so there’s nothing really that I can do other than try to work on policy as we move forward.”

Goodin said USDA specs are minimum standards, and he believes the state should build on those. He supports the dual certification Crider is proposing.

 

http://m.newsandtribune.com/news/wildlife-in-peril-former-employee-volunteers-express-concern-over-animal/article_ff7795b0-71d6-11e4-aff2-1f9e40b25e01.html?mode=jqm

 

America’s most dangerous pets

The documentary-maker talks about his encounters with a volatile chimp and an amorous baboon

Written By David Brown 30 October 2011

You’d have thought that Louis Theroux would have had enough of cells. Last time we spoke, he’d recently been visiting the high-security inmates at Miami’s mega-jail who stood accused of murder and rape. And now he’s back among cages and pens – only ones that hold tigers, bears and primates. Which experience did he find the most daunting?“I’d much rather be behind bars with a dangerous rapist or a man who’s killed three people than with a chimpanzee,” he admits. “At least I can communicate with the rapist, but I don’t speak chimp. And you just don’t know what they’re going to do.

“I’m afraid that whatever reputation I have for being intrepid will be shattered. I behave like a total wimp around these wild animals.”

In America’s Most Dangerous Pets (airing tonight on BBC2 at 9pm), the non-humans are, thanks to their unpredictable nature, very much the stars of the show. Theroux is once again stateside, this time meeting the owners of animals that you’d normally expect to find in the wilds of Africa. One such encounter involves Cooper, a 120lb chimpanzee who’s on the cusp of sexual maturity at the volatile age of seven.

When Cooper’s owners, Jill and Brad James, guide their pet into the garden, Theroux and his crew observe from indoors. It’s a smart move as Cooper immediately bounds over and smashes a window with his paws: “I don’t think he was trying to attack,” says Theroux. “He also spat at me and the cameraman and threw a barrel at us. But I believe he was trying to say, ‘look, this is my territory. I’m the king here.’

“I felt a bit bad for Cooper, really. I think if you caught him on a good day, he’d be very sweet. We just weren’t willing to take the risk. On the one hand, we could have got a really good sequence if we’d been outside. On the other, he might have bitten off my testicles. So I thought we’d skip it.”

Up close and personal

But is the documentary-maker in danger of downplaying his pluck? After all, on another occasion, Theroux’s suburban safari leads him into the arms of Tatiana, a three-year-old baboon housed at Indiana’s Wildlife In Need & In Deed preserve. “We got along well,” he says.

‘Getting along’ in this case means being pawed, sniffed and screeched at in quite a disconcerting manner, but Theroux has his reasons for thinking that he and Tatiana hit it off:

“Tim Stark, who runs the business, had introduced her as his baboon daughter, so he’d established her in my mind as being a very feminine creature. When she was hugging me quite close and grooming me, it almost felt like a primate-to-primate interaction. The feeling of being understood up to a point was very odd. Having said that, the boom microphone made her go nuts and she’d freak out and climb on it. That was one of my more nerve-racking moments.”

There is, of course, a reason for all this monkeying around. In shedding light on the eccentricities of the country’s private zookeepers and owners of exotic pets, Theroux learns that there are, for example, more tigers in captivity in the US than can be found roaming wild in the whole of Asia.

I wonder what this says about the mentality of people who choose to keep animals that are too volatile and powerful to ever leave their cages for long periods.

“It’s a generalisation, but the men are looking for large, dangerous animals that represent raw physical power and aggression. Controlling and disciplining something ferocious like a tiger gives them a status. With women – and again it’s a generalisation – you notice that they’ve got the chimps and capuchin monkeys, who’re like surrogate children.”Animal instincts

The problem is that all children mature and owners often reach the conclusion that they don’t have the necessary skills to deal with their fast-growing playmates.

“No one is going out there thinking, ‘what I want is a fully-grown chimp that I can only feed through the bars’. They’re after ones like Bubbles that they can cuddle and fool around with. And then six or seven years later, when they aren’t as frisky and fun, people realise that they’ve taken on more than they can handle.”

These unmanageable pets often end up at self-styled “sanctuaries” like the one Theroux spends time at in Oklahoma or at the home of Connie Casey, a breeder and dealer with a colony of 20 chimpanzees. Theroux visits her compound in Missouri after learning that one former resident, a male chimp named Travis, earned notoriety following a 2009 attack on his owner’s friend that left the victim with a lacerated face and severed nose.

“Those accounts really stick in your head and the primates do seem like they’d be happier in larger cages. That’s just my personal view because the atmosphere in Connie’s basement pens was quite prison-like. In fact, one of the strange things is that some of the traits of caged-up chimpanzees are exactly the same as those of caged-up humans.

“At San Quentin [Theroux spent time at the notorious prison for a documentary in 2008], I’d hear a lot about ‘gassing’, which is when prisoners take faeces and urine and fling them at the guards they don’t like. And on one of the last days at the GW Animal Park in Oklahoma, we saw a monkey that had learned to hide faeces in his mouth and if a keeper he didn’t like went near him, he’d spit poop at him.”

Incidents such as these raise an obvious question about whether a “wild” animal can ever truly settle to a life in captivity and it’s one that Theroux asks with his usual quiet tenacity. But, of course, the obvious attraction for the viewer is witnessing how he handles the more physical confrontations.

Whether he’s dodging excretions (human or otherwise) or fending off the advances of amorous baboons, it seems that these days Theroux is now constantly in search of increasingly perilous situations. Is he trying to up the ante with each outing?

“Well, it’s always been a case of pursuing stories that I’m interested in. Here, I actually wanted to reintroduce a humour and lightness that has been absent from some of my more recent projects.” And then he adds finally, “I really don’t consider myself to be a danger freak.”

Tatiana and Cooper, however, may well have a different opinion on the matter.

Louis Theroux: America’s Most Dangerous Pets is on tonight at 9pm on BBC2

‘s-most-dangerous-pets

This video by one of Stark’s relatives shows that two years before the BBC documentary he was still beating up on the bobcat named Tuck.  It also showed a number of tigers and lions who did not appear to still be there two years later even though they were obviously youngsters at the time he was having interaction with them.

 

 

USDA Violations

 

According to this USDA report, Tim Stark lied about having a veterinarian, had two young leopards die without seeing a vet, failed to keep acquisition and disposition records, among other things.

 

Tim Stark 2013 USDA

 

TIGER CUBS CAUSE FESTIVAL CONTROVERSY

 

FESTIVAL CO-CHAIRWOMAN SAYS CUBS SHOULDN’T BE EXHIBITED

By Karen Roby/WLKY

BETHLEHEM, Ind. — Thousands of people are expected to flock to Bethlehem this weekend for the annual Autumn on the River festival.

This year, a new exhibit is raising some eyebrows days before the event even starts.A pair of 10 pound, 10-week-old tiger cubs are at the center of this discussion.

Click Here: View Images

The debate is whether the cubs should be allowed at the festival.Event committee members say absolutely, while one woman emphatically says no.Trish Roehm is a longtime resident of Bethlehem. She runs an animal rescue organization out of her home.For years, she has helped organize the Autumn on the River event, but this year, she’s sitting out.”I don’t think it’s a safe environment for children and, as for education, it’s sending the wrong message to the public that these are cute, cuddly animals. They aren’t. They are wild animals,” Roehm said.Roehm doesn’t want the tigers at the annual gathering.

Jason Vicks/WLKY.com

 

Wildlife in Need, Wildlife in Deed

Tim Stark owns an animal refuge in Charlestown. He applied for booth space at the Autumn on the River festival.Stark’s plan is to give people the opportunity to take pictures with the Bengal tiger cubs.”I control the kittens. I control it. Its nails are clipped so they don’t scratch anybody. I am on the spot in case anything happens. They are just babies, 10-week-old babies,” Stark said.

Stark’s house is home to the Wildlife in Need, Wildlife in Deed sanctuary. His nonprofit organization works solely on donations.”All these guys were raised here, they went through the photo shoot program, that’s how we fundraise. I have someone that is protesting that? I am in no way shape or form going to endanger anybody,” said Stark.Roehm said that despite her concern, the festival co-chairman told Stark it would be fine for him to set up his photo booth at the event.Stark said as an American, it is his right.”I carry a USDA license to do what I do, to raise, breed and exhibit them,” Stark said.David Abbott, the co-chairman of the event, said that as long as Stark produces his certificate of insurance and information about the cubs’ immunizations, then he is fine to set up his booth at the event.Stark said he has been doing this for years.Last weekend, more than 700 pictures were taken with the cubs at the Harvest Homecoming Festival in New Albany.Stark said that he has never had a problem with the tiger babies in public.

The Autumn on the River Festival is Saturday and Sunday in Bethlehem.

Go to the link to see video of Tim Stark being stupid with big cats. Notice he is carrying what looks like a golf club inside the cage with the cats. You can be sure he isn’t teaching them to swing.

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Posted on Sep 7, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Mario Tabruae Zoological Wildlife Foundation FKA Zoological Imports

Mario Tabruae Zoological Wildlife Foundation FKA Zoological Imports

Mario Tabruae Changes Zoological Imports

to Zoological Wildlife Foundation Petting Zoo

Think it would be cool to touch a cub?  Then you might be interested in this shocking online review of the infamous Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami. In December, a family’s vacation was ruined when a large tiger cub that was “not under control” attacked their young daughter, biting her on the leg and sending her to the hospital with a nasty wound which required three stitches. The family posted photos of the girl’s injuries as well as the exact moment the cub attacked her.

Girl Mauled Zoological Wildlife Foundation Mario Tabraue

Girl Mauled Zoological Wildlife Foundation Mario Tabraue

USDA Citation and Fine against Zoological Wildlife Foundation in 2015

Excellent 2014 article with well documented citations:

http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/mario-tabraue-cocaine-kingpin-lobbying-congress-big-cats

 

USDA Inspections

 

ZoologicalWildlifeFoundationMarioTabruae2010

ZoologicalWildlifeFoundationMarioTabruae2012InsecureDangerousCagesToxins

ZoologicalWildlifeFoundationMarioTabruae2012DangerousDilapidatedCagesPoorRecordKeeping

ZoologicalWildlifeFoundationMarioTabruae2011PoorDrainage

ZoologicalWildlifeFoundationMarioTabruae2011DangerousInsecureCages

May 10, 2009 As an example of where Antle’s tigers end up, in AWA Docket No. 09-0085 the judge found that Bhagavan Antle released two tigers to Ray Thunderhawk, who had already lost his USDA license and who had abandoned 75 tigers in Palm Bay, Florida. Thunderhawk ran a “pay to play” operation whereby patrons pay to pet and pose with big cats and he took the two tigers from Antle in S.C. to Boston before taking them to the buyer in Miami.

The buyer was Mario S. Tabruae of Zoological Imports 2000 located at 16225 SW 172 Av Miami, FL 33187. Tabruae admitted to falsifying records to make it look as if he had purchased directly from Antle and that Antle had delivered the tigers. Dec 12, 1987 New York Times reports that Mario S.Tabruae was arrested for:

A drug-smuggling ring that killed an informer and cut up his body while trafficking in a half-million pounds of marijuana has been broken, the Federal authorities said today. The ring also bribed police officers to protect their operation, said Richard Gregorie, the chief assistant United States Attorney here. At one time, the indictment charged, members of the ring used Miami police officers to collect, count and disburse drug profits.

Mario-TabraueThe ring operated for at least 10 years, smuggling the marijuana, along with some cocaine, into Louisiana and Florida, Mr. Gregorie said. Six of the seven people indicted in the case were arrested here by a special Federal law-enforcement group combatting drug smuggling. The seventh was in custody in another state. $50,000 Caught by Agent Among those arrested were the men who the authorities said headed the ring, Mario Tabraue and his father, Guillermo. When the men were arrested at their homes in Dade County, Mario Tabraue’s wife tossed a bundle of $50,000 in cash out the back window, said Lloyd E. Dean, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation here. The money was caught by a Federal agent, Mr. Dean said.

 

Attachments from Mother Jones article:

Indictment

Cheetah

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