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Posted on Jun 17, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Wild Animal Park Jeff Taylor

Wild Animal Park Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor should be judged by the company he keeps: Joe Schreibvogel (#73-C-0139) remains one of the largest suppliers of big cat cubs for public contact exhibition and other purposes (despite the fact that he filed for bankruptcy on behalf of his personal estate and his corporation in March 2013). Certificates of Veterinary Inspection received through a public records request to the state of Oklahoma illustrate the web of connections between Mr. Schreibvogel and numerous substandard exhibition facilities across the country. In addition to the evidence of animal transport and disposition that was presented in the Petition, between February 19, 2011 and September 5, 2013, Mr. Schreibvogel exported at least 51 tigers, 7 lions, 2 leopards, 5 bears, and 2 monkeys. To date this year, Mr. Schreibvogel has disposed of at least 21 tiger cubs, including four cubs who were only three days old at the time of transport (and nearly all of whom were under four months at the time of transport, yet were not traveling with their dams). These big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates went to multiple exhibitors (several of whom regularly engage in public contact exhibition) in over a dozen states: Karl Mitchell, Robert Engesser (d/b/a The Zoo/Jungle Safari), Joel Almquist (d/b/a Forever Wild), Bearizona, Bill Coburn (d/b/a/ Wild Acres Ranch), Tiger Haven, Greg Woody, Ryan Easely, Joe Camp (d/b/a Jungle Exotics), Noah’s Lost Ark, National Tiger Sanctuary, Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Deborah Hendrickson, Jeremy Hinkle (d/b/a Wild Animal Safari), Noah’s Ark, Sue Pearce (d/b/a Animal Adventures), Ringling Bros. Circus, Dana Savorelli (d/b/a Monkey Island), Jeff Taylor (d/b/a Wild Animal Experience), Tammy Thomson (d/b/a Camp Junction), and Tiger World.

Find out more about why exploiters, who claim to be “educating” are sending the worst possible message at CubTruth.com

 

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Posted on Jun 12, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson says he loves his cats however, we feel that what he does is not only dangerous but is incredibly irresponsible and selfish. What he does sets a horrible example.

With his WORDS he says big cats are not pets but with his ACTIONS he makes people want to touch and play with big cats, and their babies. People pay more attention to actions than they do words.

When people see facilities or exhibits that pimp cubs out for petting and photo schemes they will pay to participate in those because people like Kevin Richardson make it look like so much fun.  They want people to think they are a “Lion Whisperer” too.

Facilities in Africa that pimp cubs for petting and photos like that sell them to canned hunts when they are too big to be used that way. That means many of those cubs end up suffering the same fate that Cecil Lion did.

In America, and other countries, the bad guys breed a steady stream of big cat cubs to be pimped out for the public to pay to play with. When those cubs get too big to be used like that their futures are pretty bleak.

The cub pay to play and photo schemes are at the very root of so many big cats suffering. Learn more at CubTruth.com

Another point to consider is petting big cats and their babies can result in the cats’ death. A tragic story unfolded that is the perfect example of that:

Bobcat Kitten Killed After being petted

In Springfield, Missouri a three week old bobcat kitten was found. The man took her to a rehabber there. The man who brought her to the rehabber ignorantly stuck his hand in her crate. The terrified little bobcat kitten bit him. Six days later, the Missouri Greene County Health Dept. stepped in, took the kitten, killed her, cut off her head, and sent her brain out to be rabies tested. The kitten did not have rabies.

Big Cat Rescue did everything they could to prevent it and many of their fans spoke out in an effort to save the healthy bobcat kitten. BCR offered to pay for the thousands of dollars in rabies shots, if the man would take them instead of having the kitten killed.  Sadly in the end, the precious little kitten lost her life because a human just had to stick his hand in with her because the law stated that ANY time an exotic animal was involved in a bite, they must be killed and tested for rabies.  There is no quarantine time, like in dogs and cats, because no one has ever studied the incubation time of rabies in exotics. 

Big Cat Rescue will not risk the lives of the cats there for a selfish desire to touch them. They are also are committed to ending the suffering of big cats and their babies and believe firmly that setting an example by actions, not just by words is important to achieve that goal.  

By comparison, Kevin Richardson has failed to speak out in favor of the Big Cat Public Safety Act

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Posted on May 25, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Bonnie Ringo

Bonnie Ringo of the Tiger Preservation Center

If you have ever heard of the Tiger Preservation Center it’s probably because they send out professionally created funding appeals, despite the fact that no one in the legitimate sanctuary community appears to have ever heard of her rescuing a cat. 

Craig Busch had dealings with her back in 2002 when she exported 5 tigers (four white and one orange) to New Zealand. It seems she was the forerunner to the type of thing Craig was doing with his hands on with the big cats at Zion Wildlife Gardens.

An anonymous caller reported the following about Bonnie Ringo which may or may not be true.  She claims that she and her husband knew and often worked for Bob and Bonnie Ringo for over 18 years.  We suggested that she file a formal, written complaint, as we have no police power and hearsay won’t help the animals. 

As of 2016 she had 14 tigers, 1 leopard and a lynx. 

It was stated by the caller that Ringo illegally acquired a golden tabby tiger (that’s just a washed out color variation that happens when people inbreed to create white tigers) a TiLiger and a Lemur from Joe Exotic.  Bob and Bonnie told her they were going on “a rescue” to get two golden tabby tigers from Dennis Hill in Indiana, but got a call from Joe offering them a strawberry (same deal; just inbred white variation) tiger, a six week old tiliger and a lemur for $5000.  She claims to have photos and paperwork copies from the transaction and said TPC’s board member, Jim Mitton of Florida paid for the animals even though it is supposedly illegal to sell tigers across state lines.

The caller says Bonnie Ringo is on medication to manage her mental issues and frequently flies into a rage and can’t remember what she’s said.  She has an on again, off again, keeper named Sherry Johnson, who is said to do a lot of her dirty work for her.  They feed the Wal-Mart trash meat diet. 

The caller said that Bob Ringo is a hit man.  The caller said that TPC’s USDA inspector is “in Bonnie’s pocket.”  

The caller said that she was on several trips to Joe Exotic’s place in Wynnewood, OK and that he had a tiger hide hanging on the wall of his private residence as a decoration.  She said he had 7 baby lemurs who she never later saw as adults on the property. She said there was an excess of fur and filth in his cages and that the cats were not watered daily due to the high cost of water. 

Note: All of the above was reported by someone who claimed to be an eye witness and who said she was in fear for her life.  Since the USDA has been investigating Joe Exotic, with no progress on the investigation since 2011 or earlier, I don’t have much faith that they will ever look into any of this.  It’s just one more reason why we need to ban private possession of big cats at BigCatAct.com 

 

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Posted on May 18, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Ryan Easley

Ryan Easley

HSUS investigation pulls the curtain back on tiger abuse by traveling circus trainer

A new HSUS undercover investigation reveals the mistreatment of eight tigers featured in Ryan Easley’s ShowMe Tigers act – a traveling circus gig that is contracted out to branded circuses. It’s painful to watch a grown man whipping a majestic tiger as the world’s most powerful predator flinches and cowers in fear. It’s a coercive training technique used to force tigers to perform demeaning and often difficult tricks.

This is the backstory that animal-based circuses don’t want you to see. It’s the reality for tigers and other wild animals trapped in these operations. Our investigator spent three weeks working for Easley, including nine days on the road with the act that has toured with Carden Circus and performed for several Shrine circuses.

As you can see in our undercover video, the tigers endure a great deal of trauma. Even a layperson can recognize the signs of stress, including cringing and bolting from Easley (who uses the stage name Ryan Holder) when he raises his whip and stick. The tigers squint and flatten their ears back, because they’ve felt the lash before. Their shoulders are hunched, defeated. It is simply unethical to force one of the world’s most powerful and extraordinary predators to hop around on her hind legs as a Michael Jackson tune blares over the loudspeakers.

The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which prohibits the kind of abuse witnessed by our investigator, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and to take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.

Increasingly, circuses are recognizing that they have a broken business model that, because of its inherent cruelty, is operating on borrowed time. This week Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus – the political protector of the industry — will perform for the last time. Ringling attributed its decision to declining attendance and stronger regulations that safeguard captive wildlife. But it also recognized how difficult it is to fool the public about what goes on behind the scenes. Abusive circus acts teach nothing about the normal behaviors of these exceptional animals. What they do teach children and others is that cruelty is acceptable, and wild animals can be bullied into doing stunts that are silly and confusing.

At the ShowMe Tigers act, the trainer holds back on obvious abuses during the live performance. It’s out of the circus ring that the more intense punishment occurs. Our investigator videotaped a practice session that showed, among other things, a traumatized tiger being whipped at 31 times in less than two minutes because she refused to get off a pedestal. Whip marks would suddenly appear on a tiger’s fur during both the practice session and live performances, confirming that the whip was making physical contact and not just being used as a threat.

What’s particularly stark for me is the difference between how circuses treat tigers and how legitimate sanctuaries treat captive cats. At The Fund for Animals’ Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, and other sanctuaries accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, tigers rescued from captive situations love to swim and rest on elevated platforms and lie on cool grass. They chase and tear apart enrichment items provided by dedicated caretakers. Staff specialists go to great lengths to ensure that the sanctuary’s tigers stay physically active and mentally stimulated. In contrast, Easley’s tigers go through the same mind-numbing cycle each day: eating, sleeping, pacing, urinating, defecating in the approximately 13 square feet of floor space for each tiger kept in transport cages, and suffering through eight-minute performances up to three times each day. Once the act hits the road, the tigers live exclusively in tiny, barren transport cages. Our investigator observed other forms of neglect, too, such as lack of protection from bitterly cold weather, a nutritionally deficient diet, and failure to provide veterinary care to a tiger with a raw, open wound near her eye.

We’re seeing states as well as small and large communities taking steps to protect wild animals from abuse and suffering at the circus. In some cases, legislators are banning cruel training tools while others are passing outright bans on the use of various species in traveling shows. We are leading efforts in states and cities across the country to end the era of captive wild animal acts. We’re ready to work with anyone interested in pursuing a circus ordinance in their community. Please contact wildlife@humanesociety.org to request a circus toolkit.

Ask circuses to do away with wild animal acts »

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Posted on Apr 22, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Forest Park Zoo

Forest Park Zoo

The Forest Park Zoo (officially called The Zoo at Forest Park) is another very old facility which has been plagued with chronic mismanagement. It is still a privately-owned zoo but the director is an employee of the City of Springfield. Here are their USDA inspection records.

In 2013, they temporarily exhibited a lion cub named Samson from Bill Coburn’s Wild Acres Ranch. This is the same Bill Coburn who sold cub-petting photo ops at the Kalahari Resort and who admitted to slaughtering his lions for meat. The 4 1/2 week old cub was exhibited at Forest Park in a glass-windowed “nursery” and taken to local news studios before being exhibited in the same enclosure as a miniature pig. The zoo’s “African Lion” exhibit page shows Samson being petted and held by small children, walked on a dog leash, and generally treated like a pet. Samson was returned to Coburn after 6 months at Forest Park.

In January 2015, two monkeys died at the zoo. One of them, a baby marmoset, died after a fight with another monkey, while another monkey succumbed to cold after an overnight power outage shut off the heat to the primate building. The animal deaths were not reported for two months. When the zoo finally did report the deaths to the city, they changed their story, initially claiming that both monkeys were “seniors” who died of cold before admitting that one of them died in a fight (which the zoo downplayed as a “natural occurrence” not worth reporting). The animal deaths and poor communication were concerning enough to city officials that they held a meeting questioning the zoo’s ability to “have the resources available for the animals for their upkeep and well-being.”
In June 2016, a monkey named Dizzy escaped the zoo after a distracted employee failed to lock the enclosure. He roamed the zoo grounds for 3 days before being safely recaptured.

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Posted on Apr 22, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Southwicks Zoo

Southwicks Zoo

Southwicks Zoo

Southwick’s Zoo is an old, family-owned zoo that was originally an exotic animal broker. Today, the zoo itself appears to be a generally humane facility as far as animal care goes. I could find no major issues in their USDA records and there is no real history of complaints about the zoo. Several of the zoo’s animals are rescues (confiscated pets, surplus from other zoos, etc.), they educate people about why white tigers shouldn’t be bred, and they don’t allow their animals to breed if there is no room for the offspring.

That said, Southwick’s has been criticized for contracting with some pretty disreputable companies to provide additional animal “entertainment”. They’ve recently been named by the IDA as one of the US’s “ten worst zoos for elephants” because, for the past decade, they’ve leased elephants from circuses to provide elephant rides and performances during the summer months.

In 2001, Southwick’s leased a wild-caught elephant named “Judy” from the notorious Hawthorn Corporation, even though the elephant had recently almost killed people during a rampage at a church event. After the incident, the USDA warned Hawthorn that Judy was to be “prohibited from exhibition involving potential public contact,” an order which was clearly ignored. In 2004, the USDA seized Judy, along with all of Hawthorn’s other elephants, as part of a settlement for severe animal abuse. When Judy died in 2007, it was discovered that she had tuberculosis, which she had been exposed to in 2003.

In 2010, another performing elephant named Dondi became ill and died at the Southwick’s Zoo at the young age of 33. She had been housed alone at Southwick’s and forced to do tricks for audiences. A necropsy revealed that Dondi’s molars had fallen out and that her lungs were riddled with tuberculosis, which is transmissible to humans.

As of 2015, Southwick’s had contracted with a California-based elephant rental company, “Have Trunk Will Travel,” to provide elephant rides at the zoo. According to this page:

“HTWT has a history of being notoriously brutal and violent to its elephants who are also rented out to be used in other forms of entertainment including appearances in movies, events, and theme parks. HTWT was caught on video viciously beating elephants, using an electric shock device, and striking a baby elephant over the head and pulling her trunk. These elephants were also observed chained for 12 hours a day, barely able to move back and forth, let alone walk.”

This 2015 article reveals that Southwick’s Zoo maintains the “breeding colony” of capuchins for Helping Hands, a Boston organization which is exempt from USDA licensing requirements and uses brutal methods to train monkeys as service animals. The monkeys at Helping Hands are housed in isolation, and employees have testified that “electric shock packs were attached around the monkey’s waist during training  which deliver the equivalent of the charge felt in a typical electric cattle fence to the monkey whenever it performed an action deemed undesirable by trainers. Painful and deforming full-mouth dental extractions were also performed on the capuchin monkeys after incidents occurred involving monkeys biting their owners and trainers.” These methods would be illegal if the facility was not exempt from the Animal Welfare Act.

The president of Southwick’s Zoo, Peter Brewer, is a member of the ZAA’s Board of Directors, and as such, he opposes legislation which would crack down on private menageries. In 2007, he opposed a proposed Massachusetts “bullhook ban” (even though it would exempt Southwick’s Zoo), stating that “bullhooks are useful in calming elephants down during medical procedures. Elephants are usually very hardy. The tool keeps them under control.” In 2016, he wrote a letter to the Kansas legislature opposing legislation which would ban cub-petting in that state. In 2016, he wrote an op-ed arguing that ZAA zoos deserve the same legal exemptions that AZA zoos have, that the ZAA has a better safety record than the AZA (it doesn’t), and that favoring the AZA over the ZAA is nothing more than “special-interest bias.” Given his position at the ZAA and his zoo’s tradition of contracting with circuses, it makes sense that he would oppose regulating them.

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