Who really believes that Marcus Cook is not still involved?
At a Texas legislative meeting in April 2015 Marcus Cook showed up and claimed to be working for this outfit.
Big cat exhibitor referred for federal fraud investigation
Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015 9:00 am
A criminal investigation into a Kaufman man’s business could soon be underway after claims of fraud.
Michael Todd—the operator of a traveling animal exhibit called All Things Wild, whose big-cat act has been headquartered in Kaufman — has claimed to be insured by “The Seacoast Agency,” according to a release from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The White Tiger Discovery
May 30, 2012
The White Tiger Discovery exhibit that will be on display at the Wichita River Festival starting Friday is under new ownership since it was shut down in Chicago in January when its previous owner was found to have violated federal animal welfare laws.
White Tiger Discovery was purchased from Texas-based ZooCats Inc. and its owner Marcus Cook about a year ago by Michael Todd, owner of All Things Wild, a zoological service provider in Illinois, and Todd’s Pony & Hay Rides in Garden Prairie, Ill., according to a supervisor with All Things Wild. The sale wasn’t final until February.
In January, the exhibit was closed down while on display at Navy Pier in Chicago when organizers learned that ZooCats was having its license revoked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for health and safety violations, including endangering children.
According to All Things Wild, ZooCats Inc. and Cook no longer are affiliated with White Tiger Discovery, which will exhibit four white tigers during the nine-day river festival.
However, in April the new owners also were cited by the USDA.
Inspectors’ reports show that Todd’s Pony & Hay Rides was accused of failing to disclose the purchase of the tigers and two cougars within 10 days of the transaction, and of allowing the public, during an exhibition, to feed two of the tigers through a barricade that had bars spaced so that children and adults were able to touch the tigers’ enclosure with tongs containing red meat.
The feeding issue was corrected at the time of the inspection, said Aaron Myers, supervisor of the Animal Care Facility at All Things Wild. Failing to report the sale was “probably an oversight”, he said.
USDA records show that the previous owner, Cook’s ZooCats Inc., which also did business as Zoo Dynamics, had a long history of infractions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide a proper diet, lack of veterinary care, poorly maintained facilities and physical abuse of the animals.
Myers said the White Tiger Discovery exhibit is “totally different” under its new ownership. The tigers that will be in Wichita were returned to Texas after leaving Illinois, but have been well taken care of and are “extremely healthy,” he said.
“On a scale of one to 10, I’d give them an 11,” said Myers, who last saw them in March.
Janet Wright, president and CEO of Wichita Festivals, said “nothing has come to light” suggesting to River Festival organizers that there are any issues regarding the exhibit that will be in Wichita.. The tigers have passed a veterinarian’s inspection in Texas and have been licensed by the city to be exhibited, she said. A local veterinarian will be available throughout the festival to make sure they’re taken care of, she said.
“We’ve tried to do as much due diligence as appropriate,” Wright said. “If anything comes about that’s not what we expected, it’s our call to ask them to leave. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Myers said there won’t be any public feedings in Wichita. White Tiger Discovery has been changed into more static exhibit, he said, with public talks and feeding demonstrations rather than public interaction.
River festival goers must pay an extra $3 on top of the cost of the festival button to see the tigers. Navy Pier paid $27,000 for the exhibit, but the river festival paid nothing for it, Wright said. White Tiger Discovery will keep the $3 cost from each visitor, she said.
Myers said Todd purchased the animals, equipment, marketing data base and the name “White Tiger Discovery” from ZooCats.
“We knew we were going to see some negative publicity with the old affiliation,” he said.
Todd did not respond to a request for an interview.
The USDA issued All Things Wild a stipulation — a monetary penalty — in 1999 for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including exhibiting animals for compensation without a license.
The USDA also issued Todd’s Pony & Hay Rides a warning letter in 2010 for two alleged violations of the act. One was a failure to establish and maintain adequate veterinary care programs after a male goat was found with extremely long hooves that folded beneath its feet, and which were beginning to crack.
The other was a failure to make potable water accessible to animals at all times after its water receptacles were found to have excessive amounts of algae. The license for All Things Wild has been active since June 2009 and the USDA is not investigating All Things Wild, according to a USDA spokesman.
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/05/30/2354012/riverfests-traveling-white-tiger.html#storylink=cpy
So here are the questions reporters should be asking:
When the tigers aren’t on the road where are they kept? Are they still kept at Marcus Cook’s home in Kauffman, TX?
If so, isn’t that pretty obvious that Marcus Cook is still exhibiting even after having his license revoked permanently?
If so, why can’t USDA figure that out?
If Michael Todd lives in IL and the tigers were in TX, then how did he buy and endangered species across state lines without being under investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service?
You probably never heard of this little roadside zoo until G.W. Zoo sent 6 tigers to them in order to be featured on Shipping Wars. Apparently the producers of Shipping Wars either didn’t care, or didn’t bother to check into the numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act by both parties.
From Shararosa’s 2013 USDA inspection:
“This lack of communication by licensee with the veterinarian concerning these (15) particular animals potentially caused unnecessary pain, suffering and death of the regulated species.”
The statement was based up Scott Edwards refusing, since he was cited in 2012 for an inadequate perimeter fence, to correct the situation. As a result it was reported that 15 of the wild animals at the petting zoo were killed by coyotes that were able to access the property.
SCOTT EDWARDS (Sharkarosa Exotic Park)
Customer No: 27405
Certificate No: 74-C-0614
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Oct 15, 2004
P. O. BOX 1198 (Yes, USDA lets the owners of wild animals use a P.O. Box so you don’t know how the animals are kept)
Also goes by the name Brian McMillan and tours under the name Walking With Lions at fairs.
2015 Update: Brian and Vikki McMillan packed up their lions and moved back to California after being denied permits to continue using the lions for commercial gain in Oregon. The news article did not say where the lions were going. Maybe back to the P.O. Box?
P.O. Box 2088 (really? you keep lions and tigers in a P.O. Box?)
Santa Clarita, CA 91386
Tel: 323-665-9500 Fax: 661-252-4509
1902 Houston Road Phoenix, OR where Brian McMillan has requested that the Jackson County Development Services interpret his breeding and commercialization of wild animals to be permitted under “farm use.” The application says he plans to bring 7 lions and assorted other wild animals from Canyon County, CA to Jackson County, OR. This 41 ac site borders or is within a 1 mile radius of 5,000 approximately residences, businesses and 4 schools.
According to those who live in the area, the real disgrace is that none of the schools, library, the police, the sheriff’s department, fire chief, retailers nor residents were informed that a wild animal attraction was opening in their neighborhood. It has been suggested that the Jackson County Development Services may have tried to block McMillan from bringing the lions under the “farm use” loophole, but that McMillan is stating that USDA gives him the right to have them; so no one can stop him.
This is a common ploy used by those who own exotic cats to circumvent local prohibitions on big cats as pets. A one page application and $40.00 can get them a USDA license, which makes them “an exhibitor” or a “breeder” thus circumventing laws that prevent their “pets.” In 2010 the Office of the Inspector General audited USDA and found that of the licensees, who held four or fewer big cats, 70% were just pet owners who obtained this easy-to-get license in order to get around local bans. This is why we need a federal ban on the private possession of big cats.
Hard to believe anyone could think there would be anything good or redeeming about a place that rents out lions, tigers or any other wild animal.
Nov 13, 2013 PHOENIX, Ore. — Giraffes, zebras, and even some lions, are moving in next door to a Phoenix neighborhood. The owner says the animals will bring big business to the Southern Oregon town, but others have concerns about how close the animals are to people.
A Hollywood animal trainer says he wants to bring the operation to Southern Oregon because he loves the land and loves the climate. The 41 acre property sits near homes, schools and businesses, and Oregon laws about exotic species allow them to be there.
North Houston Road is like many areas in Phoenix, home to scattered neighborhoods, farms, and businesses. Coming next year, that area gets some wild new tenants. Hollywood animal trainer Brian McMillan is moving his operation from Southern California to Phoenix, where he will raise and train several exotic animals, and put on educational programs.
“We will have programs here where we can have school kids in, and also members of the public who are interested in learning about game farming,” says McMillan.
He plans to bring those hoofed animals, and is trying to get approval for seven lions. That came as a surprise to some of its neighbors, including Phoenix High School, which is right next door. Principal Jani Hale says she’s neutral about having the animals next door, but she does worry about loud noises from football games startling the animals.
“That’s the first thing I thought of was out touchdowns. We make a touchdown and we shoot off our pirate cannon, and I thought, ‘OK, do the owners know about our cannon? Someone should tell them.’”
Many neighbors NewsWatch12 spoke to said they’re not worried, and are excited about the program.
“They just seem like very sincere people and I don’t see any threat,” said Monica Jenkins, who lives next door. “I do feel comfortable.”
So how can giraffes, zebras and lions move in next door? In Oregon, animals like zebras and giraffes fall are considered “non-controlled species” by ODFW. No agency inspects them, and there is no minimum fencing requirements, and lions are regulated by the USDA.
In California, laws are getting stricter. In September, West Hollywood banned exotic animal shows. Huntington Beach and Pasadena also have similar bans. McMillan has run his “Walking with Lions” shows for years at parks and circuses, but he says the changing laws are not influencing the move to Southern Oregon.
“We looked basically all over the United States,” McMillan says. “We love this area. As soon as we came here, we felt like we were home.”
McMillan also says he follows federal fencing and safety guidelines, to make sure nothing gets out.
“We have an impeccable safety record. We’ve never had an accident, never had an incident.”
McMillan says after seeing so much support from neighbors, it’s a project he hopes other Phoenix residents will approve of.
“We really do want the community to get behind this,” he said.
The USDA does routine inspections on lions. They issued a reports in 2008 and 2009 saying McMillan was allowing the public to get too close to the big cats. They said the issue was corrected, and McMillan has had no violations for the past two years.
McMillan says there’s still work to be done rebuilding homes and clearing land on the property. He says the animals won’t be brought in until sometime in the middle of next year. http://www.kdrv.com/wild-animal-trainer-moves-in/
West Hollywood joins other California cities, including Huntington Beach and Pasadena, in banning commercial exotic animal displays. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-west-hollywood-bans-commercial-animal-displays-20130917,0,4376637.story
Although this ban doesn’t directly effect Brian McMillan, it is obvious that Californians are becoming more aware of animal sentience and less tolerant of animal exploiters.
October 05, 2013 By Mark Freeman Mail Tribune
PHOENIX — A Hollywood trainer of lions and other exotic animals says he plans to open a satellite operation near Phoenix to serve as a home base for his Oregon filming and as an education center.
Lions, giraffes, zebras and a host of African antelope could be living a year from now in new facilities that trainer Brian McMillan plans for his property along Houston Road adjacent to Phoenix city limits.
McMillan and his wife, Victoria, in August bought a 41-acre parcel of farmland and are now renovating the century-old farmhouse on the property — the first phase of his planned operation.
“It’s going to be a year or so from now,” McMillan said in a Tuesday interview from his current operation in Canyon Country, Calif. “Right now we’re just trying to get our house built.”
McMillan has been an animal trainer for more than 30 years, according to his website. His credits include television shows such as “CSI: NY” and “Monk” and films such as “Into the Wild,” as well as an array of talk shows and television commercials.
McMillan said his “Hollywood Animals” and “Walking with Lions” operations already do filming in Oregon, primarily in the Portland area, and he wants to expand that work in Oregon and Northern California.
The couple settled on the Phoenix property as a base for filming here because they prefer the climate and the community, he said, but that they plan to keep his Southern California operation as well.
Eventually, he plans to add pens and other facilities on the property before shipping seven lions, three giraffes, three zebras, two camels, two ostriches and six antelope north, according to his county planning application.
“It’s a nice, big, beautiful piece of property with lots of space,” he said. “And we’ve always liked Oregon.”
Before purchasing the land, which is zoned exclusively for farm use, McMillan asked the Jackson County Planning Department whether these exotic animals would fall under the land-use definition of “farm use.”
The lions fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and would need a permit from that agency to be housed on the property, said Bruce Pokarney, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.
The ostriches and camels already are exempt from wildlife laws because they are considered domesticated animals, said Rick Boatner, who handles exotic species issues for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The giraffes, zebras and the antelopes — kudus, blackbucks and impalas — are listed by the ODFW as “non-controlled animals” that can be kept, bred or sold here under limited restrictions, Boatner said.
There are not even fencing requirements such as those for keeping bears or cougars, Boatner said.
“Just humane conditions, that’s it,” he said. “But if they escape, you have some different rules to deal with.”
Under state statutes, any escaped exotics must be reported to the ODFW within 24 hours, and the owners have 48 hours to capture them, Boatner said. After that, any police officer or ODFW biologist can capture, seize or kill the escaped animal, he said.
“They can do whatever they think is best,” Boatner said.
All the animals must get an ODA health certificate before they can enter Oregon, Boatner said.
“It’s very rare, outside of zoos, to bring these animals in,” he said.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at email@example.com.
This undated police handout, shows Brice Brian McMillan, who along with 36-year-old Sandra Elizabeth McMillan, have been charged with murder and felony child abuse, after the Macclesfield N.C., couple, allegedly tied their 13-year-old son to a tree for two nights as a punishment for disobedience.(AP Photo/police)
By Martha Waggoner, Associated Press Writer
TARBORO, N.C. — A couple accused of killing their 13-year-old son by tying him to a tree for two nights for punishment appeared in a courtroom Monday to face charges of murder and felony child abuse.
Attorneys appeared Monday with Brice Brian McMillan, 41, and his wife Sandra Elizabeth McMillan, 36, of Macclesfield.
“It’s a sad case,” defense attorney Allen Powell, who represents Brice McMillan, said after the hearing. He declined any further comment, and the couple did not enter a plea.
Tyler Gene McMillan was buried Monday morning next to his mother in Greenville. An obituary in the Greenville Daily Reflector said the boy was raised in Pitt County and enjoyed reading, fishing, karate, being a Boy Scout and watching professional wrestling.
The county sheriff’s office has said Brice McMillan told a deputy the teen was being disobedient and was forced to sleep outside last Tuesday while tied to a tree. The teen was released Wednesday morning, but again tied up that night for bad behavior.
Sheriff James Knight has said the boy was left tied to the tree until the following afternoon, when his stepmother found him unresponsive. Authorities believe the boy was bound to the tree with plastic ties and possibly other kinds of material.
Arrest warrants for both McMillans said the child sustained “bruising to the wrist, cuts to entire body, missing flesh from buttocks, results from being tied to a tree for approximately 18 hours resulting in death.”
The warrants didn’t reveal a specific cause of death. An autopsy is pending at the state’s chief medical examiner’s office in Chapel Hill.
Two other children living in the McMillans’ home, ages 7 and 9, have been placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services, authorities said. The teenager’s obituary said he has a brother and stepsister.
Macclesfield is about 60 miles east of Raleigh.
He looks very much the same in the photo and video above, but that may be a coincidence.
W7013 Spring Rd, Greenville, WI 54942 920-757-9695
Here is what visitor who love animals say about the Special Memories Zoo where big cats are kept in corn crib styled bird cages:
Reviewed August 11, 2014
We went in early August and found the entire experience pretty depressing. I am not an animal expert, but can safely say there is little to no attempt to replicate their natural environments. The cages were small, the water provided to them looked dirty and stinky. The big animals were especially sad. There was a tiger in a small cage that paced back and forth the entire time we were there.
I can’t in good conscience ever go back and support this zoo.
Visited August 2014
Reviewed June 16, 2014
This zoo is a big waste of money. Plus the animals look so incredibly sad with very little room to roam, and have no shade in the heat of summer. The zoo has signs all over saying they are approved by state laws and everything is the way it is supposed to be (ummm…?! Why even need to say this?). Zoo is stinky and dirty and not well maintained. Feeling very sad since leaving the zoo and will not be returning. HIGHLY recommend the NEW Zoo in Green Bay.
Visited June 2014
I came here with my son’s 1st grade class, and can say this zoo is the worst ever. The only good thing about this zoo was the playground. All the kids preferred the playground over looking at the animals. And here’s why:
1. The place is not very well maintained. It stunk like pee and very grassy.
2. The animals looked depressed as they’re all caged in small cages, even the lions and tigers.
3. There are signs that say the cages were inspected by the government and are approved (what zoo does that?).
4. The train ride was soooo boring. The guide, Gretchen stopped every couple feet to bang on the animal cages so they would wake up and run around. While it’s nice to see them run around, it wasn’t necessary.
That said, I’m certainly surprised to see more good reviews than bad. I think this place really needs to work on their cleanliness and provide more space for their bigger animals such as lions, tigers, bears, camel and zebra to run around and play. It’s really sad to see how depressed they looked. If you’re in town and want visit a zoo, I recommend The NEW Zoo in Green Bay.
Visited June 2014
Reviewed May 31, 2014
First off, I am NOT a PETA person. we actually own a farm and we know that those organizations exaggerate and try to get people worked up about nothing. However, I felt uncomfortable at this zoo as the animals seemed miserable. Our cows have shade,heavy duty fans, even sprinklers, plus thousands of square feet they have access to at any time, and food and water available 24/7. These poor animals live in very small quarters. It would be like someone owning a dog and keeping it in a small kennel all day (yes I know some people do this, but it doesn’t mean it’s kind). The day we went the train was running every 30 minutes do to field trips. The gal driving the train (Gretchen) would bang on the cages, telling the animals to wake up. The poor woodchucks… one just wanted to sit on his perch away from the others. She banged around until he got down. One of the other two he was clearly trying to avoid was pissed and chased and bit at him until he went back his perch. I didn’t understand why a resting animal would be rousted every 30 minutes to fight with another animal just to ‘entertain’ us. I’m sure to some I sound overly concerned as I think people who leave their dog tied outside on a short chain without water or attention are cruel too… but I don’t know any farmer who would ever treat their animals the way this zoo does or the way some people treat their pets (not most ,but some).
Visited May 2014
Reviewed September 22, 2012
This is a nice little zoo with a cute playground for younger children. My only concern was that the animals (especially lions and tigers) were in such a small area, and to be frank, did not look happy. There are even signs on certain animals explaining why they “cry”. A little bit sad.
And the animals are very close. Silly, but it made me a little uncomfortable.
But my 2 year old enjoyed the playground and petting zoo.
Visited August 2012
Reviewed August 18, 2012 via mobile
Go to a facility better equipped to handle animals. This place should be shut down. All of the animals seemed entirely miserable.
Reviewed August 6, 2012
Went there with a group. Lots of animals in small enclosures with nothing but cages & concrete slabs. Very few enrichment opportunities for animals. Went on hot/humid day. Water was minimal provided to animals. Petting zoo included a badger, fox, some kind of wild cat and baby zebra… really? This is what these animals are in the world for? Reptiles were housed in a garage with rocks on top of aquariums and signs that say don’t lift lids. Obviously somebody’s home collection of exotic animals. Would not support this kind of treatment of animals. Complaint with DNR will be filed.
Visited August 2012
The USDA had some pretty serious citations against Gene Wheeler’s Special Memories Zoo as well:
Aka Kevin Antle, Bhagavan Antle, Rare Species Fund, Preservation Station
Exploiting tiger cubs. In our opinion, Kevin Antle (who calls himself “Doc” because he supposedly earned a doctor of natural sciences degree from the Chinese Science Foundation according to one report. Note that there does not appear to be a Chinese Science Foundation on the Internet) is one of the most notorious exploiters of tiger cubs in the country. Antle operates two facilities in Myrtle Beach, SC that offer cub handling and photo ops for a fee. One is a retail location called Preservation Station in a tourist area of town near the beach. The other is his zoo or park.
He incessantly breeds tiger cubs to use to make money at these locations. From what we are told by visitors, the cubs are taken to the retail location where they are subjected to being placed with and handled by person after person paying to have their photos taken with the cubs for a number of hours each day. Then the cubs are taken back to the zoo, where they are subjected to more handling and photos. Antle also takes cubs on the road to exhibit far from home at fairs or other venues, forcing the tiny cubs to ride long distances in a truck only to be handled by person after person for hours to make money.
Cubs used by exhibitors to make money from handling are typically torn from their mothers shortly after birth, a torment to both cub and mother. They are deprived of the comfort and nutrition of nursing and grooming by the mothers, subjected to unnatural levels of stress that lower their immune systems, and typically not allowed the natural amount and timing of sleep in order to satisfy customers. For more about cub handling in general see Cub Handling Factsheet
Where do Antle’s cubs end up? USDA guidance states that cubs should not be handled at under 8 weeks of age because their immune systems are not sufficiently developed, and not handled at over 12 weeks because they are classified as “juvenile” and dangerous. This creates a four week “window” during which cubs can be handled if exhibitors comply with the guidance. (NOTE: We and other much larger animal welfare organizations have been urging to USDA to close this 8-12 week “window” by banning cub petting altogether to stop the widespread abuse of cubs used for petting.)
One visitor reported they were told by handlers that Antle starts using the cubs at 3 weeks of age, ignoring USDA guidance designed to protect the health of the cubs. Even so, there is only a brief period during which the cubs can be handled. So, Antle must steadily breed cubs to use in this money generating business. But, according to his USDA census, he only houses 51 tigers at his park.
Where do all these cubs go when they are too old for him to use to make money? There is no way to know how many of these tigers end up living miserable lives in conditions compassionate people who care about animals would consider inhumane. Per the report by TRAFFIC, the worldwide organization that tracks trade in exotic animals, the lack of tracking of tigers in the U.S. means there is also no way to know how many tigers end up being slaughtered for their parts to make “derivatives” like alleged medicines and tiger bone wine.
Visitors who have tried asking where the tigers end up tell us that they get evasive answers. According to one Animal Welfare Act violation case and “Animal Underworld,” Alan Green’s excellent book exposing the illegal trade in exotic animals, that two of Antle’s tigers ended up in the hands of Mario Tabruae. Tabruae was arrested in the late 80’s for heading a 10 year drug smuggling ring. His Zoological Imports business was featured in Green’s book. Some of Antle’s animals have ended up at GW Park in Oklahoma, another notorious exhibitor of tiger cubs.
Unsafe exhibition of adult tigers – USDA lawsuit. Antle used to make money photographing visitors in close proximity to big cats with no barrier to protect the public. In 2005 the USDA told him he was violating the safety rule that prohibits exhibiting without sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animals and the public. Antle sued USDA claiming his procedures complied with the rules. His case was so lacking in merit that he lost on summary judgment. He then appealed, and lost again. In our opinion, the idea that someone could safely stand within touching distance of an adult big cat is absurd because there is no way any “handler” can restrain a big cat that decides to attack. Antle made his argument despite the fact that, according to reports, in 1991 one if his lions who was posing with a female model bit her head resulting in 50 stitches and a $75,000 civil suit judgment against him.
Investigations, violations and injuries. Antle has a 20+ year history of USDA and/or state agency investigations and/or violations including hitting tigers, injuries, transporting animals without proper health tests and papers and containing them in areas that were too small, unclean, unsound and/or inadequate. A chronology of those violations appears below.
Breeding ligers and tigons and color variations. Antle is known for breeding hybrids between lions and tigers and color variations that do not occur in nature and have no conservation value according to experts. Their only apparent purpose is to draw visitors to see what in our opinion are freaks.
Helping conservation? Antle is a clever marketer who positions himself as making a significant contribution to conservation in the wild. Visitors are given literature that may cause them to think that Antle makes a significant contribution to conservation. Antle claims to have a “nonprofit grassroots organization” called the Rare Species Fund that donates to conservation in the wild. In our search, we were unable to find an entity of this name listed as a nonprofit by the IRS. We were not even able to find an entity with this name in South Carolina Secretary of State records. It appears to be simply a fictional name Antle uses. Antle’s brochure claims RSF is “among the world’s most effective conservation agencies.” The literature says that since the founding of RSF in 1982 it has provided “more than $200,000 to wildlife conservation effort.” This comes to less than $10,000 each year on average. This is likely to be a tiny fraction of the amount Antle makes from his for profit tours and animal handling fees. We are unable to find any financial reporting or disclosure related to this alleged entity. One of the groups Antle’s literature says he works with as part of his alleged conservation work is the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF). This is a group that advocates the private pet ownership of exotic animals that we believe leads to many animals living in what we consider to be miserable conditions and creates danger to the owners and public.
Tiger escape. Antle used to also keep a few tigers and other animals at Jungle Island in Miami. In August 2010 one his tigers escaped, sending visitors scattering. Fortunately the tiger was recaptured without anyone being attacked, although a news report indicated four people were treated for minor injuries. Antle was cited by USDA twice in the months following the escape for continuing to keep tigers in an inadequate enclosure. It appears from our research that by January 2012 he had transferred ownership of the animals to another licensee and did not renew his permits to keep animals in Florida.
Lies regarding critics. Because exploiters of tiger cubs have no true basis for justifying their mistreatment of the animals, they typically try to discredit critics with false statements about the critics. Antle is no exception. Big Cat Rescue in Tampa has made exposing what we view as abuse of tiger cubs a priority. In response, Antle makes false statements and points to websites set up by other exploiters containing false statements about Big Cat Rescue and Founder Carole Baskin. Among his lies have been claims that he is the copyright holder of photos Big Cat Rescue posted to expose his operation. When challenged under the provisions of the Digital Media Copyright Act, Antle was unable to back up his lies and the images were reinstated.
Chronology of Citations/Investigations/Escape/Injuries from news reports and government documents
Nov 16, 2010 cited again for tiger enclosures that were no different from the one that enabled an escape in Aug 2010.
Sept 10, 2010 cited for failing to house the tiger who had previously escaped in a cage that was any different from the one he had escaped from on Aug 28.
Aug 28, 2010 Visitors to Miami’s Jungle Island were treated to a scarily authentic experience when a tiger sprang from its pen at the tropical tourist attraction. Hundreds of terrified guests ran for safety when the big cat, known as Mahesh, broke out of its enclosure. According to MSNBC, the 3-year-old tiger spent an hour enjoying its newfound freedom before being recaptured.
June 8, 2010 failed to have a person of legal age available at Miami’s Jungle Island site to let the USDA inspect the facility.
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.
The 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.
December 1994 Antle was fined $1000 for transporting a bull and cow without proper health tests and papers. He was also cited for night boxes that were too small for zebras, wolf hybrids and tigers.
July 6, 1994 US Department of Agriculture investigation for failing to supply proper travel papers in Kodak, TN in Sevier County. Antle was also associated with a second investigation into the legality of whether interstate transportation and exchange of baby tiger cubs. Antle was also under investigation because one of his tigers bit a trainer who was visiting Antle’s Buckingham Zoological Park in Virginia.
Dec 1993 transporting a bull and cow without proper health tests/papers in Kodak, TN in Sevier County
May 1992 Sharp wire was at the top of the zebra fence.
Nov 1991 An electric cord from a space heater dangled within reach of an elephant.
Oct 11, 1991 charged with hitting his tigers in Carver, MA in Plymouth County. Antle and his handlers were seen hitting wild cats at a fair according to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Antle stated he hit the tigers when they became too aggressive.
Another investigation found that Antle allowed people to have their pictures taken with the animals, failed to list a cougar among the animals he brought to the state and had overstayed his permit according to Tom French, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife. Antle at that point was asked to leave Carver, MA within 24 hours.
According to one report, Antle returned to Massachusetts without the knowledge of wildlife officials under the guise of other company names, and at the time that led the Massachusetts wildlife department to declare that it would not issue any more permits to Antle. However, they apparently have, since he reportedly has been performing at a fair there for decades.
Oct 9, 1991 lion named Arthur bit a model during a photo shoot requiring 50 stitches in Manchester, NH in Hillsborough County. Antle allowed a Konica lion named Arthur to pose for pictures with a Bedford, NH model. Shannon Audley, 23, of Bedford, NH was injured when the 6-year-old lion opened its mouth and clamped down on one side of her head. Audley’s head was cut, and she was admitted to Catholic Medical Center where she needed more than 50 stitches to close the wounds to her head and was hospitalized for about 5 days. Audley also had to undergo a series of rabies shots because Antle left the state with the lion and it couldn’t be determined if the lion had received a rabies vaccination.
Audley was awarded $75,000 in her lawsuit against Antle, under a default judgment. A default judgment is entered when a defendant takes no action to contest a claim against him. Audley was seeking $250,000. Audley also filed a suit against Bill Melton, the Manchester, NH photographer, but the court dismissed that action. Antle claimed the model was cut falling off a platform.
Sept 1991 The pit of a young zebra was called inadequate and exposed nails were found in animal enclosures in at least 2 inspections.
Aug 21, 1991 Antle was assessed a $3500 penalty to avoid litigation over 7 alleged violations, including animal enclosures that were unclean and structurally unsound and supplying incomplete travel and identification records. He did not have to admit innocence or guilt as a result of the order. Kodak, TN in Sevier County As of July 14, 1994 the penalty has not been paid.
July 1991 Antle was cited for unclean and unsound animal enclosures, incomplete travel and ID records. Monkeys were kept too close to coyotes and a baboon across from a jaguar. An exhibit site for an elephant had no way of preventing the animal from entering a highway if it got away from the trainer. Kodak, TN in Sevier County
1991 Antle came home from his tiger roadshow to an outstanding misdemeanor warrant issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It charges him of letting a tiger come in contact with the general public at a 1990 bodybuilding contest in Sevierville. It was served on him and carries a $50 fine if he’s convicted.
December 1989 Federal inspectors find zoo vacated with deer and peacocks left behind in Buckingham, VA
Antle Tiger Escape at Jungle Island August 2010
August 29, 2010 Miami, FL: Visitors to Miami’s Jungle Island stampeded over each other to avoid an escaped, 3 yr old, 500 lb. tiger named Mahesh. A monkey escaped while being transported through the zoo and 500 lb. Mahesh bounded over the 14-foot fence into the public area according to the Miami Herald. The attraction’s three big cats — which include a liger and a white tiger — have been confined to a “night kennel,” while the park investigates. “We were really scared. There were people crying,” Miami mom Dorothy Evans told the Herald, adding that people knocked each other down as they sprinted toward the shelter. “People were running for their lives,” Larry Rhodes, 46, of Pompano Beach, told the Sun Sentinel. Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll told the Herald that several people were injured while running, including a mother who fell on top of her 15-month old baby. Another guest was taken to a Miami hospital after suffering a panic attack. Bhagavan (Kevin) Antle, who also owns T.I.G.E.R.S. in Myrtle Beach, SC and who is the owner of Mahesh, was charged with one count of maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition, resulting in threats to public safety. Park owner Bern M. Levine was charged with two second-degree misdemeanors for conditions resulting in the animals’ escape. The charges for both men have a maximum penalty of $500, FWC officer Pino said. Source Time and others.
About Antle in the book Animal Underworld
Page 35 of Alan Green’s book Animal Underworld: “An animal handler who has claimed to also own an Exxon tiger is Bhagavan Kevin Antle, who was an assistant to Jack Hanna during his appearances on Good Morning America and Late Night With David Letterman. Known alternatively as Kevin Bhagavan, Kevin Antle, Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle, Ghagavan Antle, and Dr. Kevin Antle (he supposedly earned a doctor of natural sciences degree from the Chinese Science Foundation), Antle also claimed to own the MGM lion, even though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. sent him a cease-and-desist letter, and he implied in his literature an affiliation with Greenpeace, until he was told to cease and desist. Antle is a self-described big-cat conservationist who presides over The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS), which operates a mobile petting zoo, leases tigers for TV commercials, and charges people at shopping malls and festivals to have their pictures taken with an animal. Antle hauls around a crossbred lion and tiger to such places as casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is also known for owning a lion that, in 1991, had to be pulled off a terrified model during a photo shoot in Manchester, New Hampshire. That same year, the federal government charged Antle with repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including substandard housing for big cats, and to settle the charges he agreed to pay a $3,5000 fine. He was also cited in Massachusetts that year for illegally displaying his cats, and he was threatened with arrest and confiscation of the animals if he didn’t immediately leave the state. What’s more, Antle was the target of an unsuccessful 1991 Tennessee lawsuit regarding his alleged beating of a Bengal tiger with a wooden shaft.”
Antle Claiming to be an M.D.
In an article he wrote for the Phoenix Exotic Wildlife Association in 2005 Antle claimed to be a medical doctor saying, “I still think this is your right to have your own tiger and to be killed by your own tiger. Just keep it in a cage forever and don’t let anyone else near you or watch you have it happen. I know this rambled on a bit but I was trying to make several points that are hard to explain. I often say that as an MD., I can talk you trough [sic] taking out someone’s kidney, but I can not talk you through tiger training. You have to live it to understand it. Dr. Bhagavan Antle”
1991 News Article
Antle, 34 and his high-profile business are in the middle of an ongoing animal-rights debate.
Antle, whose full name is Mahamayavia Bhagavan Antle though he has gone by the name Kevin, is an animal trainer who supplies trained animals for advertising, commercials, film work and shows.
He opened the park on Bryan Road within site of Interstate 40 in late May. It is open to the public. It houses dozens of animals ranging from tigers to lions, to wolf hybrids, an elephant, primates and some deer. Antle said he also has some animals in Korea, where he has been working on a show involving trained animals for a resort.
Animal-rights advocates say he routinely doesn’t follow federal animal welfare regulations.
Among the charges leveled by regulators and animal-right groups are that Antle doesn’t provide proper shelter for the animals, doesn’t give them enough access to water, gives incomplete records to federal and state officials and allows the public to come in contact with the dangerous animals.
Animal-rights activists said Antle cares little about the animals or the public. They believe Antle beats, mistreats and drugs the animals to make them act domesticated for commercials, television, movies and his shows.
“He’s out there to make money and that’s all he’s out there for” said Sue Pressman, a West Virginia zoo consultant who helped write the Animal Welfare Act and who gave a critical inspection report of T.I.G.E.R.S in August 1991. “He needs to go to jail” stated Pressman.
“It’s a lie the United States Department of Agriculture comes here all the time to inspect us,” Antle said. “The USDA’s sole purpose in life is sanitation.”
But Sue Pressman, a consultant for P.A.W.S., the Performing Animal Welfare Society who toured T.I.G.E.R.S. on Aug. 3, said it was rife with violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act.
“We went through and there were lots of problems,” said Don Elroy, co-director of the Tennessee Network for Animals, which invited Pressman to the area. She is a former longtime director of Captive Wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States.
Among the problems Pressman said she found were a host of sanitary (violations, a dangerously low perimeter fence that might allow animals to escape, a fence enclosing tigers that is configured in a way that could allow the cats to climb out and an elephant chained without shade and water.
Elroy said there are also questions the group has about the registration of some of Antle’s animals. He said a lot of the problems are already laid out in previous USDA inspection reports of the facility.
“We want to see some demonstration of compliance,” Elroy said. “He’s not trying to improve the facility.” Elroy also questioned how the USDA could give Antle a license until he was in full compliance with all regulations.
Antle, however, countered that T.I.G.E.R.S. was licensed by the USDA in May and that USDA veterinarians were back inspecting the facility only a few days before Pressman was there.
He said that groups like P.A.W.S. are against him no matter what. “No matter what our facility looked like, the lady would have complained,” Antle said. He also displayed the USDA exhibitor license for T.I.G.E.R.S. and copies of USDA inspection reports on May 21, 1991, and July 16, 1991.
“A few days before that lady was here, they (USDA) made an inspection, and nothing was said about sanitation,” Antle said. “And these men were experts.”
The USDA issues the permits for parks like T.I.G.E.R.S. “The USDA says we pass unequivocally,” Antle said. “They said they want us to fix water bowls. They said our weeds were higher than they wanted.”
The USDA inspection report on July 16, which Antle provided to a reporter, lists two pages of handwritten recommendations of corrections. Inspection reports dating back to 1988 for Antle-owned facilities – he also owned Buckingham Zoological Park in Buckingham, Va. – have similar lists.
Despite all of this Antle has never lost his license to exhibit animals.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel
The Union Leader
Tribune News Service
Dec 3, 2014: Buckhead, GA: A SiberianLynx attacked his caregiver while his owner, Fred Boyajian, was out of town. The person was reportedly bitten on the head at the 3000 block of Paces Ferry Road NW. Police say the woman was bitten on her head and had cuts on her arms and back. She was treated at the hospital. David Laws, the primary caregiver for the cats tried to downplay the event, but the 911 call was pretty terrifying. The owner has 9 cats, including 4 Siberian Lynxes, one Canada lynx, and 3 other cats of comparable size. Channel 2’s Carl Willis went to the neighborhood, where neighbors said it isn’t the first incident involving the large cats. Neighbors are nervous as it’s still not clear how the animal was able to attack a person hired to feed them. They say it doesn’t help matters that one of the large cats has gotten loose in the neighborhood before. Aerial footage from NewsChopper2 showed a large cat pacing in its cage at a home in Buckhead. It was moments after police say a Siberian Lynx bit someone. Police found the victim bleeding heavily from her head. DNR says the owner is permitted to breed the animals on the property. In 2004, another lynx, belonging to the same owner, got loose. A 50-pound lynx was spotted near a home on Beechwood Hills Court. “Because I don’t think any of us really know how they’re being contained and if one of them was to get out and bite someone in my family or anyone else, it’d be pretty terrifying,” a neighbor said.