Hernando Primate Sanctuary is a privately owned pseudo-sanctuary in Brooksville, Florida, owned and operated by Ann Kelly and her husband Kerry in their 10-acre backyard. Hernando Primate is a registered Florida nonprofit and is licensed to house exotic animals that have been seized by the state, but it has more in common with a backyard zoo than a true rescue. They do a lot of things that a true sanctuary would never do. Their monkeys are trained to do tricks on command,
their animals are treated like pets, taken to community events for “animal interactions”, and allowed to breed, and guests to the “sanctuary” are often encouraged to have direct contact with the animals, even potentially dangerous ones like adult big cats and chimpanzees. Hernando Primate is “accredited” by the ZAA and affiliated with the Feline Conservation Federation, the USZA, and UAPPEAL, all networking organizations for private exotics owners and breeders.
As you noted, Hernando Primate just got a new USDA exhibitor’s license. According to the ZAA factsheet, their previous one, 58-C-0970, was cited for “filthy cages, enclosures in disrepair, unsanitary food storage, housing together incompatible species, an unsafe lion enclosure, failure to have an environmental enrichment plan for a newly acquired chimpanzee, and having only one inexperienced employee to care for all the animals at the facility” between 2011 and 2013. In 2014, this license was canceled.
As of 2011, the last time their website was online, Hernando Primate claimed to have one cougar (Nikita), one serval (Reggie), two lions (male Masai and female Mchumba), and a tiger (Kali). I know that they have at least 3 tigers today, and guests have reported seeing a lynx there as well.
According to this 2009 article (which can’t seem to decide if the facility is a “rescue” or a “zoo”), Reggie the serval lived in Kelly’s house as a kitten until he started jumping on the refrigerator, when he was moved to an outdoor enclosure. The article also says that the “sanctuary” hosts barbecues and has a bounce house for kids to play in, and that the female lioness was pregnant, which made Kelly “excited.” This brings me to my next point:
I strongly suspect that they tend to obtain new cats by “rescuing” them from breeders as young cubs,
or that they simply allow nature to take its course if two intact cats are housed together. When they do have cubs, they are more than willing to allow the public to feed and play with them as long as it’s feasible — in 2010, their website encouraged visitors to come and “feed the baby tiger his bottle.” Incidentally, that same tiger still lives at Hernando, and is still being fed bottles of kitten milk replacer by guests. There’s a rather disturbing Youtube video of this. (As a side note, it’s possible that the primates are also allowed to breed, as their old website mentions the fact that volunteers are needed to care for “newborns.”)
In this video, we see two clearly agitated tigers frantically pacing back and forth along the fence separating them, seemingly out of frustration (the orange tiger is male and the white one is female). One of the visitors talks about how “we all got to bottlefeed him when he was little,” to which Ann responds: “He’d probably love to have a bottle right now, too.” Then, Ann proceeds to instruct the children to place their hands on the cage of the still-agitated white tiger so that she’ll come and lick their hands. Mom reassures the understandably reluctant kids that “he can’t get you through the fence” — tell that to this poor guy, who had his thumb bitten off just by accidentally leaning against a tiger enclosure at another Florida pseudo-sanctuary. At the end of the video, a little boy puts his hand in front of another white tiger, who tries to lick and paw at him as if he were a toy. Thankfully, the boy got to feel the tiger’s whiskers without getting hurt — this time. I honestly do not understand why parents think that allowing their children to be licked by tigers in someone’s backyard is a safe or amusing family activity — in virtually every big cat mauling involving children, the parents were reassured by the owner that the animal is “safe.” 4 years ago, Hernando Primate brought their lemurs and monkeys to a Home Depot parking lot in dog crates so they could provide exotic animal interactions for a community event — not something a sanctuary does. They also advertised a 4th of July party at their facility, where visitors could donate $10 to play “tug of war” with the tigers and engage in other animal interactions.
This Facebook album includes several photos of the cats at Hernando Primate, including Ann Kelly and her visitors petting Reggie the serval. The uploader of the album refers to the animals as Ann’s “pets”, which probably isn’t too far off the mark. Some of the tiger enclosures don’t look too bad for a private facility, but, as mentioned earlier, there sometimes doesn’t appear to be anything between the visitors and the cats but a single layer of chainlink fence (note the fingers in the cage.) I don’t think that’s legal. This Facebook album shows more cat enclosures,and so does this video slideshow.
In short, while this pseudo-sanctuary isn’t malicious, it’s definitely irresponsible, and an accident waiting to happen.
I also discovered that a new business called Florida Exotic Feathers has recently been founded by Ann Kelly at the same address as Hernando Primate. This could be an aviary/exotic bird interaction business, but the name sounds more to me like it’s a bird breeding operation. If so, what is it doing at a “sanctuary?”
Quote from a handout regarding the exotic problem in MO:
“Wild Animal Safari advertises bear cubs and baboons for sale in Animal Finders’ Guide and has been cited by the USDA for failure to provide veterinary care to sick animals, failure to provide adequate shelter to big cats and primates during cold winter weather, filthy and unsanitary conditions, inadequate drainage in enclosures, unsafe handling, and feeding big cats a nutritionally deficient diet.”
“April 27, 2014/St. Louis, Missouri: Eighteen students were nipped on the face and/or hands by a bear cub who was part of a petting zoo that was brought onto the campus of Washington University by Cindy’s Zoo. A decision to kill the bear cub so the animal could be tested for rabies was ultimately reversed.” (Bear cub originated from Wild Animal Safari)
PROMISED LAND ZOO BRANSON
Customer No: 329566
Certificate No: 43-C-0352
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo opened in 2013 as a sister park to Promised Land Zoo in Eagle Rock, MO. Both parks are for-profit businesses that are owned and operated by Jeff and Diane Sanders and their daughter, Laura Remenar, and her husband, Joshua Remenar. The facility boasts about allowing the public to handle baby dangerous animals, such as tigers, in what’s known as Pay To Play or cub handling. They are also buying and selling exotic animals as pets, for entertainment purposes, and for slaughter. They are the self-proclaimed “largest producer of African Caracals in the US.” Their various USDA licenses have accumulated violations for having no record of attending veterinarian visits, no veterinary care plan, no program of environment enhancement for non-human primates, animals with excessively long hooves, expired vaccines, failure to have a knowledgeable adequately trained employee responsible for big cats on public display, rodent feces present in feed storage building, failing to provide an adequate barrier between animals and the public, allowing their license to lapse, and failure to provide an adequate perimeter fence.
Photos of cub handling from their Facebook page
The Sanders, Remenars, and their many company names are also selling exotic animals on websites and social media under the name Eagle Rock Exotics. Eagle Rock Exotics sells “hoofstock, primates, cats and more” on ExoticAnimalsForSale.net. http://www.exoticanimalsforsale.net/animalbreeders/missouri-animal-breeders.asp.
Animals are sold into a variety of situations including allegedly being slaughtered for meat, the exotic pet trade, or performing animal companies. For example, there have been numerous situations of animals being sold online – sometimes even using Facebook (pictured).
One lemur was sold into the pet trade to Libby and Robert Brozovich in 2008. No USDA license is listed under Brozovich on the USDA website, and if the Brozovichs don’t have a license that means there are no federal inspectors visiting their primates to ensure they are being properly cared for.
Eventually the lemur sold to the Brozovichs was finally donated to a sanctuary. By that point the current owners claimed the lemur had at least five different owners they were aware of before it finally found a permanent home.
Another animal that was once owned by Promised Land Zoo was a sloth that later ended up with the Jeff Musial with Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics. Nickel City Reptiles uses animals as entertainment for TV shows, commercials, birthday parties and corporate events. Jeffrey Musial has been cited by the USDA for animal housing in disrepair, failure to keep a marmoset enclosure free of grime and debris, failing to maintain housing with an appropriate temperature after chinchillas were found in an aquarium in an 86 degree facility, failure to allow freedom of movement by housing two camels in 12×12 stall, failure to provide enough space for an African crested porcupine, and failure to maintain disposition and acquisition records on several animals.
One USDA inspection reported stated that “the facility does not have disposition records for the cavy’s, palm civet’s, and genets that were sold.” (These records are a USDA licensing requirement.) This exposes their participation in the sale of exotic animals and makes it impossible for the USDA to track the animals if no records are maintained.
A variety of business and personal names have been used by the Sanders and Remenars on different USDA licenses and many licenses have accumulated violations.
USDA Licenses and Violations:
Diane Sanders – 43-B-0311
Diane Sanders – 43-C-0245
Diane and Jeff Sanders – 43-C-0361
Promised Land Zoo – 43-C-0352
In March 2014, the facility was cited by the USDA for failure to have a knowledgable, adequately trained employee responsible for an adult lion and 7-week-old tiger cub during public exhibition.
FOIA request on Promised Land from 2014
When their license lapped with the USDA they continued to operate and be open to the public. (page 1)
Cited for not keeping a barrier between animals and the viewing public in 2013. (page 3)
Cited for “failure to provide adequate barriers between the animals and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of the animals and the public”, “failure to maintain the housing facilities structurally sound, and maintained in good repair to protect animals from injury”, “failure to provide an adequate perimeter fence of sufficient height to keep animals and unauthorized persons out and to serve as a secondary containment” (page 10)
Citation for lack of trained handler mentioned by HSUS above (page 27)
Cub Handling Images are What Drives the Trade in Big Cats
No legitimate sanctuary or zoo allows public contact with exotic cats. These are a couple of cub handling photos and posts on social media, including taking cubs to chamber meetings and media stations of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo using cubs to attract attention to themselves.
Serval on a leash being touched by swarm of kids
BPLZ proclaiming they are “the largest producer of African Caracals in the US’
Conversation with a member of the public reporting that they raise their animals for meat and that animals don’t have rights.
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo Boasts of Baby Encounters
You have to ask why their mother cats all seem to reject their cubs?
March 1, 2014
“Our newest addition to the zoo is…a baby Bengal Tiger! His name is Bruce Lee and he’ll be on exhibit throughout the day here in Branson.”
March 3, 2013
“Jungle Josh and the Amazing Aubrey on KOLR 10 this afternoon at 4pm or channel 27 with Bruce the Bengal Tiger!”
March 4, 2014
“Baby Bengal Tiger revealed at Promised Land Zoo
A baby Bengal tiger was revealed to the public at Promised Land Zoo on Saturday morning, much to the delight of a fascinated audience, who reacted with lots of “oohs and ahhhs” and interesting questions. “He is very special to us,” said “Jungle Josh” Remenar, Animal Exhibitions Manager at Promised Land Zoos. “This is a baby Bengal tiger, and his name is Bruce Lee,” he said, as the tiger scurried out of a kennel and onto the stage. Remenar allowed spectators to come to the edge of the stage without touching the tiger. “For a lot of you, this is as close as you’ll ever be to a tiger,” he said. “He is only six weeks old.” Remenar then revealed more news that excited the crowd. “On March 12, when he is old enough, we are going to start what we call Tiger Time. You’ll be able to hold the tiger and get a picture. We haven’t ironed out the details, but you’ll be able to play with the tiger for a short time, and your whole family will be able to take a picture with him,” he said. The audience was full of interesting questions: Will he live here his whole life? How large will he become? Where are his parents? “His mom is in northern Missouri. She did not want Bruce,” he explained.
“The reason we are so proud of him is because tigers are going extinct very fast. There were originally nine sub-species of tigers. Three of them are now extinct completely, and one is extinct in the wild. Only in captivity are they alive. So that leaves five sub-species of tigers, and between all five sub-species, there’s less than 4,500 in the wild.” “We would like to get started on a breeding program and try to keep this species alive,” he added. According to Remenar, the tiger may get as large as 500 pounds, and within a couple of years, he will likely be moved to a larger facility. “When he is very large, he will probably go to our other park, which is 120 acres,” he said. Bruce Lee is now on exhibit at the zoo. The Branson Promised Land Zoo is home to many rare and endangered animals and features big cats, monkeys, kangaroos, camels, zebras, reptiles, birds and other species from around the world. The zoo offers a foot safari, live animal shows, parakeet paradise, and bottle feedings, all included in admission. Also new for 2014 is a show hosted by Jungle Josh where visitors can pet, and in some cases, feed their favorite animals while learning more about them. The Zoo also hosts “Exclusive Animal Encounters” that allow guests hold a baby monkey, or to pet rare animals like two-toed sloths or kangaroos, for an additional fee. Guests may sign up for one of these unique experiences when they check in, or by calling Laura Remenar at 417-342-4800. “Through interaction with some of the most exclusive animals on the planet, we are able to promote animal education and conservation of so many species that need our help,” she said. Each encounter comes with a tour of the nutrition center and meet-and-greet of the zoo show animals. More information and zoo hours is available online at plzoo.com. The zoo is located at 2751 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway.
— By Michael J. Frost
March 4, 2014
(shared by PLZ March 4, but posted by Laura Sanders March 3)
“Bruce prepping for his big TV debut. At kokr 10.”
March 5, 2014
“Jungle Josh, Buckaroo Brice and Bruce Lee the Baby Bengal Tiger on Power 96.5 today at 7am! Listen!! — in Springfield, MO.”
March 7, 2014
Now Booking Tiger Times with Bruce the Baby Bengal Tiger….
Jay Wohlert: Where did Bruce come from?
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo : Tiger Time starts March 12th! Sign up today and cross this off your bucket list! firstname.lastname@example.org
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo: His mother of course! He was born in state during one of our polar vortexes and his mother did not take him! Luckily, she was being monitored and Bruce was given a fighting chance! He’s now 7 weeks old and actually started eating solids just the other day.
Branson Chamber Facebook post February 11
“We enjoy visiting with our Chamber Members and today was no exception! Please meet our Chamber Member Sebastian an African Serval cat from Branson’s Promised Land ZOO!”
Posting by Laura Sanders-Remenar December 18, 2013
“African Serval kittens will be available for Exclusive Encounters beginning January 1st! Schedule your encounter now…limited availability. 417-337-9453”
Want to put an end to these cruel pay to play schemes? Take action at BigCatAct.com now!
Five Generations of Circus Acts that Exploit Tigers and Other Big Cats
Rosaire Taunting Tiger with Baton
You can pretty much tell how much a person has to hide by how many names they operate under. Finding USDA reports on this facility and the Rosaire family has been one of the hardest because they keep changing names, changing locations and changing license numbers. To further exacerbate the situation Rosaire uses a P.O. Box for her USDA entity that houses the big cats making it hard for the average person to find anything on her without knowing her USDA license number. The following is just the beginning of an effort to bring all of their past into one time line to the best of our ability given the lack of government oversite and dismal record keeping.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this research has been how the public can pay to see her forcing the cats to perform and then believe her when she claims that her tigers were rescued. She rescues from herself. They are tigers bred by her for use as props who are then relegated to tiny, barren cages. Most of these only have a tarp for shade. In 2009 she claimed on her USDA renewal to have 18 tigers, 8 lions, 2 leopards, 1 cougar and 1 bobcat as well as an assortment of other exotic animals. If you go to her facility you will see that all of these animals are crammed into a very small patch of her property.
Her inspector is Richard Botehlo who rarely reports anything wrong at her facility. See the whistleblower report filed against USDA by Richard Botehlo below and you will begin to understand why inspectors do not report most of the violations they see.
Photos by Dee DeSantis
2009 March 19 Rosaire license 58-C-0908 cited for failure to properly identify the dogs and failure to provide proper storage of their food to keep it free of vermin. A dog was being housed in 4.8 square feet of space when the USDA minimum for a dog his size was 6.67 square feet. USDA regulations only require that the animal be able to stand up and turn around in their cages and Rosaire was not meeting even this barest of minimums.
2009 May 19 Pamela and Roger Zoppe have their USDA license 58-C-501 cancelled. Their DBA and address at the time was Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees 5317 Fruitville Road #175 Sarasota, FL 34232
2009 June 22 Pamela and Roger Zoppe pop back up with a new USDA number at the same name and address 58-C-0936
2009 July 7 Rosaire license 58-C-0387 cited for three violations including a freezer that was not working properly where animal food was stored, bears being separated only by use of hot wire where they could reach through and harm each other and bears being kept in such small cages that they could not get out of their own excrement.
2009 October 13 Rosaire license 58-C-0387 cited that a young bear was being kept in a cage where he could not freely stand up and turn around, which is all that the USDA mandates.
2010 June 19 Rosaire license 58-C-0908 cited for one performing dog having an untreated cut above his eye, and 7 dogs being forced to perform in temperatures above 85 degrees (regulation restriction) where the heat index was 107 and one dog was being kept in a cage that only measured 9.69 sf of floor space with USDA regs require 12.25 sf of space. The dog was 3 feet long, so even the minimun requirement was only 3 feet by 4 feet. Rosaire wasn’t even providing the barest minimum of space.
2010 September 25 Rosaire license 58-C-908 cited for a repeat violation of not properly identifying dogs with license tags. The reason USDA regulates this sort of thing is to prevent “bunchers” from stealing dogs and selling them to labs for experimentation.
UniverSoul Circus does not possess an exhibitor license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animals are leased from outside companies, including Tarzan Zerbini Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, Kay Rosaire, Bucky Steele, Rosaire-Zoppe Chimps, and Mitchel Kalmanson, so that the pages and pages of cited violations they have incurred are obscured through multiple owners, names and entities.
Rosaire’s Known Licenses and Aliases
Florida 3092 58-C-0387 Rosaire, David David Rosaire’s Perky Pekes P.O. Box 50094 Sarasota 34232 license issued 6/1998
Florida 2998 58-C-0496 Rosaire, Ross Derrick & Kay Rosaires Bears Po Box 346 Myakka City 34251
Florida 9309 58-C-0769 Rosaire, Wayne Rosaires Royal Racers Po Box 338 Bostwick 32007 this is for 14 racing pigs
Florida 3121 58-C-0367 Rosaire-Mowrey, Kay Rosaire-Mowrey Family P O Box 50217 Sarasota 34232 license issued 10/1990
Florida 6648 58-C-0608 Zoppe, Andrea 3074 Myrtle Sarasota 34234 last inspection was in 2008 for 6 dogs
Florida 13162 58-C-0908 Zoppe, Dallas 3115 44th St Sarasota 34234
Florida 3175 58-C-0868 Arneberg, James Arnberg Super Dog Show 7101 Palmer Blvd Sarasota 34234 this is the physical address for the tigers
Florida 32030 58-C-0832 Dymek, Kazinerz Party Animals Petting Zoo Llc 901 East Rd Sarasota 34240 SunBiz registered to Rosaire no inspection since 2009
The following are USDA licensees in Sarasota that may or may not be affiliated with Rosaire. These are still being evaluated.
Florida 1874 58-C-0012 Zerbini, Alain Alain Zerbini Circus Production 3327 51st St. Sarasota 34235
Florida 40523 58-C-0886 Svensson, Carlos 7419 Prospect Rd Sarasota 34243
Florida 7398 58-C-0629 Castano, Raul Swap Shop 151 Verna Road Sarasota 34240
Florida 32762 58-C-0905 Creadon, Peggy Pony Parties Of Sarasota 7034 Westwood Dr Sarasota 34241
Florida 3883 58-C-0788 Donoho, Georgina P. O. Box 1418 Sarasota 34230
Florida 38355 58-C-0878 Esqueda, Alfonso Sulo Esqueda Brother Circus 935 N Beneva Rd S609 #43 Sarasota 34232
Florida 38122 58-C-0876 Fornasari, Tosca 3322 Oak Grove Dr Sarasota 34243
Florida 33721 58-C-0845 Garcia, Katherine Star Family Circus 2621 Ridge Ave Sarasota 34235
Florida 18946 58-C-0753 Juchno, James 745 N Pompano Ave Sarasota 34237
Florida 10034 58-C-0664 Klose, Hans & Adele Adeles Canine Review 4600 Sloan Ave Sarasota 34233
Florida 20089 58-C-0852 Markov, Andrey 5136 Indian Mound St Sarasota 34232
Florida 31471 58-C-0841 Maya Panfilova, Andriy Bilobrov & 2250 Gulf Gate Dr Suite A Sarasota 34231
More on Kay Rosaire http://reporter.911animalabuse.com/service/searchEverything.kickAction?keywords=rosaire&includeVideo=on&includeAudio=on&includePhoto=on&includeBlog=on&includeUser=on&includeGroups=on&includeMessages=on&includeSets=on&as=23072&sortType=relevance
Kay Rosaire and her son Clay Rosaire do not rescue cats, but rather are a part of the problem rather than the solution. They do not walk the talk and these pages will tell you more about them:
This is nothing more than an antiquated “carnie” circus.
Thankfully, in this more enlightened age of animal compassion, the market for these animal abusive displays is dwindling. Most people realize that there is nothing “educational” about seeing infant or adultwild animals caged, transported from venue to venue, “tamed” using abusive methods, existing solely as a profit center for a business.They watch Animal Planet, they visit truly accredited rescue sanctuaries, they are more aware of the reality of life for these imprisoned animals. In short, they are more educated and will look at anyone promoting them as irresponsible. (please note below the negative publicity that fairs have received as a result of displaying captive wildlife from leased organizations and the truth behind these displays)
Kay Rosaire ‘s organization is not accredited and has been cited by the government for the abusive conditions in which their animals are kept. At a USDA Big Cat Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas on March 26, 2003, Kay Rosaire made this statement on stage: “To keep a tiger off you, you just poke ’em real hard with a pitchfork a time or two and show ’em who’s boss. Then they’ll get the message.”
These two articles will give you background on what the Rosaire ‘s are really about.
The animals have no voice, but you do, and you can still do so much to put an end to their abuse.
USDA Whistle Blower Report
January 5, 2005
Richard Botelho Jr, Animal Care Inspector for the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Heath Inspection Service, Animal Care agency, has filed a whistle blower complaint against USDA with the US government “Office of Special Counsel,” dated January 4, 2005.
As an animal care inspector and citizen of the United States, Richard Botelho Jr, believes the public needs to be aware of the prohibited practices by the Animal Care’s management at the eastern regional office. The OSC whistle blower complaint alleges multiple violations of federal regulations and law, gross mismanagement and waste of funds at Animal Care’s eastern regional office in Raleigh, NC.
The Animal Care agency is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, which is federal legislation that ensures the humane care and treatment of certain warm blooded and exotic/wild animals. Animal Care conducts routine inspections at facilities that use regulated animals in research, exhibited to the public, sold wholesale and retail and transported. Licensed facilities would include but are not limited to zoos, circuses, wholesale dog / cat breeders, exhibitors, exotic / wild animal dealers and exhibitors to include transporters. Animal Care’s Mission Statement: AC provides leadership in establishing acceptable standards of humane animal care and treatment and to monitor and achieve compliance with the Animal Welfare Act through inspections, education, and cooperative efforts. Unfortunately, records show in the last several years Animal Care in the eastern region has failed to use enforcement to achieve compliance.
This lack of enforcement has caused more prolonged health and welfare problems for animals that AC is required to protect by the federal Animal Welfare Act. The lack of enforcement has also caused more incidents with potentially dangerous animals and the public. Animal Care in the eastern region is failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, which is endangering the animals we are responsible to protect to ensure adequate care and treatment. Failing to enforce the minimum standards and regulations of the AWA, has harmful risks to the animals and to the public. Potentially dangerous animal are being allowed to be exhibited to the public without direct control of a handler(s), sufficient distance or barrier between the animals and the public.
The OSC complaint states the Eastern Regional Office allows licensee’s with a history of repeat noncompliance’s to operate without any legal action against such licensees. Evidence shows that Animal Care paid consultation fees to a licensee to consult with a facility which had a history of repeat noncompliance’s. Repeat violators of the AWA are seldom given warnings. When legal action is taken against violators, only a fraction of the proposed fine is given by a stipulation agreement. The licensee does not have to admit to the history of repeated violations when they accept a stipulation agreement.. Even when the investigation shows the licensee has repeatedly violated the AWA, which affected the health and welfare of the animals and or public, Animal Care issues a warning or small stipulation. Facilities often accept these stipulations and continue to violate the AWA minimum standards and regulations year after year, stating it’s just the cost of doing business. Even after facilities pay multiple stipulations they continue to violate the AWA without any further action by Animal Care. USDA licenses are rarely revoked and commonly renewed, even when facilities have a history multiple repeat violations and not in compliance. Research facilities pay thousands of dollars in stipulations which usually cost the taxpayers, because the research with animals is mainly funded by the US government.
Inspectors request warning letters and investigations for repeat violators of the AWA from Animal Care management, never toreceive such requests, and without any reply to the inspector. There are several lawsuits against Animal Care from animal welfare groups for allegedly failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, which may cost the taxpayers thousand of dollars in attorney and settlement fees. The eastern regional office has issued far less warning letters and stipulations than the western regional office. Recently there was an audit by USDA, Office of Inspector General of the eastern regional office, due to the lack of enforcement issued to facilities. This audit should now be available by FOIA.
The whistle blower complaint states the eastern regional office superiors hire inspectors in areas which are fully staffed. Inspectors with a lack of facilities and work are often sent to other inspectors facilities and paid for travel and lodging. Yet, other inspectors,with over a hundred facilities more than other inspectors, which have not inspected facilities for several years, are not given additional inspectors for their territories.
The OSC complaint states Inspectors are often approved to visit other cities and states, just to visit relatives or site see, as long as they conduct inspections in that requested territory. These visits are paid by Animal Care, the taxpayers dollars. In most circumstances the inspector assigned to that territory has never requested any additional help from his or her superior.
The whistle blower complaint states the eastern regional office of Animal Care purchases laptop computers, digital cameras, and other equipment when the current inventory are in excellent working condition. Unnecessary purchases are made before the end of the fiscal year to spend what monies are left in Animal Care’s budget.
The OSC complaint states inspectors were verbally reprimanded and their complaints not heard by Animal Care management when they refused to join coworkers at a training course at Plum Island, New York, where animals were given a variety of diseases without pain management before their death. Animal Care enforces pain management at research facilities, however USDA fails to follow such standards during its own training programs.
The whistle blower complaint states an inspector alleges that Animal Care management gave direct orders to an inspector to expunge files which were FOIA from a federal agency due to an investigation of a human death at a research facility. Other requested records from USDA, FOIA, have taken over 2 years and requesters still have not received the FOIA nor the reason for the delay.
Inspector Botelho has been inspecting facilities for nearly 5 years in SW Florida. He has conducted an astounding number of inspection, nearly 1000 inspections which have uncovered over 200 persons operating without a USDA license, some for many years. He has been given all successful evaluations each year, has no prior discipline, and has an exceptional sick leave record.
Unfortunately, since Animal Care inspector Botelho has complained about the gross mismanagement in the last several years and filed numerous complaints against his supervisor and Director of the eastern regional office, he has been retaliated against recently to include one 14 day suspension unpaid for alleged improper conduct.
Five days after serving his first suspension, he was issued a proposed 14 day suspension unpaid for alleged improper conduct. The improper conduct Director for investigations division for RMSES, stated inspector Botelho used profanity during a telephone conversation. The telephone conversation was a complaint by inspector Botelho due to RMSES investigators calling his home during late hours, harassing his family and waking his children.. Inspector Botelho’s first suspension states that he had 5 complaints against him for alleged inappropriate conduct from USDA licensees who have repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act and was issued either warning or stipulations. It appears that 5 complaints, which were here say, out of 1000 inspections is a very high percentage by Animal Care standards.
The eastern regional office Director has not disciplined inspectors with greater number of complaints initiated against them, to include Ethics violations (conflict of interest accepting gifts from licensees) AC management does not support their inspectors, but supports high profile licensees when complaints are initiated against them, especially if such facilities threaten lawsuits against the agency. There is a complaint procedure for licensees, however none for inspectors who often learn of complaints during an internal investigations or suspensions.
Management has unlimited funds for legal fees. Yes, their USDA attorney is provided free of charge for their gross mismanagement at the cost of the tax payers. There is seldom any accountability when government superiors are found guilty of discrimination or retaliation, except for future promotions. There is a free in-house grievance procedure for Animal Care employees, but it is evident that the decision would not be UN-bias, due to being made by the USDA administrator. Inspector Botleho has hired an out of state employment attorney in the last several months, which he has since paid over thousands of dollars in legal funds. It has been over two years since inspector Botelho filed initial complaints against USDA, APHIS, Animal Care. The US government being back logged with complaints and lack of staff has yet to set a hearing with a federal judge at the EEOC.
Congress needs to help federal employees do their job with dignity and respect, allowing them to file complaints in a timely and cost effective manner. Help is greatly needed for employees who file complaints against their superiors, due to the cost and time it takes for employees to receive their justice. Federal managers are allowed to issue discipline without pay and state that employees are guilty before employees can prove their innocence, costing thousands of dollars to them and their families. Most employees in inspector Botelho’s situation give into management and drop their complaint because of retaliation and the lack of funds for legal representation. Since inspectors fear complaints against them and do not get support from the management, most end up picking their battles at certain facilities, turning their heads from citing enforcement resulting in poor work ethics. Other federal employees are given ultimatums to resign or be fired. Federal managers need to be accountable for their gross mismanagement. History shows that employees who file whistle blowers eventually will be wrongfully terminated, hopefully history don’t repeat itself for inspector Botelho and congress will make some serious much needed changes in current federal regulations and laws.
Before Inspector Botelho filed this whistle blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, he has recently forwarded such similar complaints to his chain of command to include: Deputy Administrator, Dr. Chester Gipson, APHIS Administrator, Dr. Ron Dehaven, Ann Venneman, USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Agriculture Committee, Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush and President George Bush.
Hopefully his concerns and complaints will be heard by all animal lovers worldwide for the health and welfare of the animals regulated by USDA, APHIS, Animal Care. Animal Care inspectors need to be supported to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Repeat violators of the AWA need to be issued the appropriate legal action by Animal Care management.
Inspector Botelho can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com .
Kay Rosaire takes her circus act to Bermuda and the cats on barges
Animals from non-profit sanctuary (read pseudo sanctuary)
By Ruth O Kelly-Lynch
Tigers and bears from a non-profit sanctuary will arrive on the Island for the Animal Extravaganza shows which begin on May 26.
The animals are coming from Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Florida. DNA Entertainment spokesman Ray Hollis said the company would be bringing six tigers and five bears. The sanctuary, run by Kay Rosaire, has been rescuing exotic animals from unhealthy environments since 1987.
Approximately 57 large cats call the sanctuary home at the moment. They live on three large indoor/outdoor complexes with swimming pools, toys and trees. The brochure says the activities provide emotional enrichment that maintains optimal mental and physical health.
Ms Rosaire and her son hold educational shows and demonstrations in order to raise funds for the habitat. Their brochure touts them as gentle caregivers:
Their unique style of gentle handling, praise and treats encourage the natural behaviours of big cats on cue and in a sequence of their choice. Clayton is one of the few men in the world who can put his head in a lions mouth. Semi-retired from the entertainment industry, Kay dedicates herself full time to the rescue of big cats and other animals in need of a safe, permanent home, and continues to the educate visitors at the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary as to the plight of these magnificent animals in the wild, addressing subjects such as conservation and habitat preservation. Kay has spoken at two big cat symposiums for the United States Department of Agriculture and is a recognised expert in animal husbandry pertaining to lions and tigers.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently investigating the group to ensure that it treats the animals well. Teresa Ince, Shelter Manager, said the Society still has concerns about the event.
We are still not endorsing the event because we are concerned about the transport of the animals, the veterinary care and the housing of the animals while they are in Bermuda and their safety, she said.
Mr. Hollis said he was aware that the SPCA would probably not be endorsing his event, though he said he has not made any contact with them recently. Even if you have the best trainers and safety in place it will not change their stance, he said. They do not want them in cages so what can you do? That is their opinion.
He said that the SPCAs concerns have not hurt ticket sales to the event, they have already sold out of all $25 tickets to the four shows. There are still $35 and $40 tickets to the shows which will be held May 26-28.
The public seems to realise that with any animal you have to transport them in a cage, he said.
The animals will arrive on the Island on May 21 via a freight ship. He is currently in discussions over where to keep them while they are on the Island. A spokesman from the Environment Ministry said it had not granted DNA Entertainment permission to import the animals and the Ministry is still actively reviewing the case.
Mr. Hollis said it is not customary to apply for permission until ten days before the event and added that he is in constant touch with the Ministry. He also said his company has not been affected by North Rock Communications pulling its sponsorship from the event.
I respect their decision, he said.
He added that he is looking to include local animal acts into the Animal Extravaganza as well as the big cats from the sanctuary.
Fund for Animals Condemns Agricultural Fair for Hosting Big Cat Encounter
SILVER SPRING, MD (August 14, 2003)
The Fund for Animals is condemning the organizers of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair for allowing the exhibit of lions and tigers by Rosaires Big Cat Encounter. Five lions and three tigers confined to small cages are on display at the fair this week.
The fair is taking a huge risk by promoting captive wild animal shows such as this, said Andi Bernat, Program Coordinator for The Fund for Animals. People unfortunately trust that these exotic animals can be domesticated when in fact, the animals often retain their wild instincts. According to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, captive wild cats exhibited to the public have been responsible for 8 deaths and over 60 injuries. Bernat also pointed out that people who are in the business of displaying captive wild animals often end up selling or trading their animals to circuses, roadside petting zoos, and trophy hunting ranches.
In fact, Kay Rosaire , one of the Big Cat Encounter owners, was an exhibitor for UniverSoul Circus, which has been cited for a number of infractions including Animal Welfare Act violations, said Bernat. In 1999, the Big Cat Encounter was cited by the USDA for failure to provide proper veterinary care and for cages that did not meet minimal size requirements.
Captive wild animals deserve to be treated as animals, not as stage props, said Bernat. Having lions and tigers at a county fair is not only inhumane to the animals, but also poses a danger to citizens and could make the county and the fair organizers liable for injuries ordeaths.
In March of 2012 the Rosaire Circus dragged their cats up to the IX Indoor Amusement Park in Cleveland, OH for the third year in a row.
FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE ALLOWING WILD ANIMAL DISPLAYS
In an attempt to clean up the sleazy image long associated with roadside zoos, operators of these facilities now declare themselves “conservationists.” They in fact do nothing to protect wildlife or preserve habitat, and they breed animals indiscriminately, without regard for genetic diversity and with nowhere suitable for them to go. What people learn from these exhibitors is how animals act in captivity and that it is acceptable to cause wild animals to be bored, cramped, lonely, and kept far from their natural homes.
Profit-hungry operators perpetually breed animals so that they will have an endless supply of “cute babies” in order to draw crowds. The older, unmanageable animals are left to languish in small cages or disposed of when they have exhausted their “usefulness.” Exotic animal auctions, frequented by unscrupulous dealers, are a popular method of discarding unwanted “display” animals, who ultimately end up in the pet trade, on breeding farms, killed for their skins and other organs, or used for canned hunts. Some animals, such as tigers, lions, and bears—both cubs and adults—are worth more dead than alive. Hides alone can fetch $2,000 to $20,000 or more. Entire families are slaughtered and stuffed for mounts that sell for $10,000. To avoid damaging pelts, animals are killed by the most gruesome methods imaginable, such as shoving ice picks through their ears and into their brains, suffocating them by wrapping plastic bags around their heads, and drowning.
Wildlife exhibitors mislead the public with impressive-sounding but meaningless credentials, such as “federally licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of the Interior.” Federal permits to exhibit, breed, or sell regulated animals are required and issued to nearly anyone who fills out an application and sends in a fee. The USDA exhibitor application is a 3/4-page-long form that asks for a person’s name, address, and animal inventory but nothing that pertains to qualifications. The Animal Welfare Act, which the USDA enforces, sets only minimum standards of care and rarely addresses an animal’s psychological needs. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the branch of the Department of the Interior that issues permits to buy and sell threatened and endangered species, considers non-native wildlife a low priority. Breeding mills have so saturated the market with “generic tigers” of unknown lineage that USFWS exempts these animals from full regulation. Some exhibitors even retain their licenses despite incidents of deadly animal attacks, dangerous animal escapes, serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Circuses: Clean Family Fun Or Havens Of Cruelty?
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If this video makes you mad, then DO SOMETHING about it!
Send a letter to your legislator with our quick & easy form at www.CatLaws.com
The Best Response to Circuses Ever Written
By Kerry Ashmore , The Northeaster
Numerous thorny issues cloud the debate over how humans treat animals. One issue coming quickly to Minneapolis, however, has a clear and easy correct answer. We urge Minneapolis City Council members to ban wild animal circus performances in the city.
This will not require all of us to become vegetarians. It won’t ban laboratory research. It won’t be a death sentence for any animal that bites a human. Minneapolis taxpayers would simply be refusing to allow people to make money in the city through capturing and training wild animals, and would be foregoing any money the city and local businesses might make if the circus came to town.
This issue is similar to some other thorny issues, however, in that many people will oppose the ban because they don’t want to believe that circuses are necessarily cruel to animals. To support the ban, they would have to admit that the whole concept of capturing and
training wild animals for human entertainment and enrichment is, and always has been, wrong; and that they have been wrong for not doing everything they could to ban the practice decades ago. Who wants to admit to something like that?
Our advice to them: Deal with it.
Yes, we humans have been wrong all along, and this is a baby step toward making things right.
Those who don’t want the ban will be quick to point to violent and illegal acts people have committed in the name of ending animal cruelty, and suggest that seeking to end animal cruelty somehow indicates that one condones such acts. That simply doesn’t pass the common sense test, and those who bring such incidents into the discussion are essentially admitting that they can’t come up with a reasonable defense for the way animals are treated in a circus setting. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because there is no reasonable defense for it.
Some local people will lose some money if the ban is passed. Circus people stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and spend money in local stores. Our wise and resourceful officials can replace the circus with other events that don’t cause us to support unconscionable acts toward beings who, because of human intervention, are no longer able to defend themselves.
Humans, with complete freedom of movement and superior reasoning capability, grow weary of “life on the road,” and with good reason. Circus animals are caged and moved from town to town, forced to perform unnatural acts and then caged and moved to yet another town for yet another performance. The best efforts of the most kind- hearted people in the world cannot make this process humane. It is
cruel by its nature.
It’s unlikely that the circus people think that what they’re doing is inhumane. It’s only when city after city after city closes its doors that they will ask, “Why?” and perhaps begin to have second thoughts about the way animals have to be treated if they are to provide money- making entertainment to humans.
When and if our society becomes truly civilized, such entertainment will be banned entirely. Those animal-protection laws don’t exist now, and there isn’t a legal way to stop circus use of animals.
Minneapolis, however, has a chance to take one simple, straightforward action, and become the 29th American city to close its doors to wild animal circuses. It’s an action Minneapolis council members should take without delay, without regret and without dissent.
Posted: Wed, 08/01/2007
For the love of animals, avoid the circus
By DUNCAN STRAUSS
Special to The Post
Sunday, December 23, 2007
On Wednesday, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus lumbers into the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center in Palm Beach County for 12 performances. To those considering stepping into the big top to attend one of these shows, I offer this polite request:
Who am I – some animal-hating killjoy out to spoil your fun? Far from it. I’m a father, a pretty passionate animal lover and, not coincidentally, I host a radio program about animals that airs on Tampa National Public Radio affiliate WMNF.
I do not claim to be a renowned animal expert. But over the years, I’ve done a great deal of research into an array of animal matters. In hosting the show, I’ve had the good fortune to interview a number of renowned animal experts, experiences that have yielded one indisputable conclusion:
Animals in circuses endure a relentlessly awful life, marked by constant travel in cramped quarters, where access to food and water and proper veterinary care can’t always be counted on, but punishment, pain, cruelty and, sometimes, premature death can be.
Hyperbole? Hardly. Any unit of Ringling Bros. is on the road for six to 11 months at a time, typically traveling in small train cars or trucks that are often poorly ventilated and/or lack basic creature comforts.
But the travails of transportation practically seem glorious alongside the covert and overt cruelty of the training that prepares – if that’s the right word – these animals to perform in “the greatest show on Earth.” Allow me to pose two related rhetorical questions:
Do you think that tigers – who, like most animals, are deathly afraid of fire – would be naturally inclined to jump through a ring of fire?
Do you think that elephants would be naturally inclined to balance on a colorful perch, stand on their hind legs or heads, or dance?
The answer, of course, is a resounding “No.” So, to achieve the sort of unnatural and physically challenging behaviors described above and others, the training is fear-driven, revolving around punishing and hurting the animals: whipping them, beating them with rods, etc.
Elephants often are restrained, then beaten until they understand not to fight back. The chief tool of the elephant training trade is the bull hook, or ankus, which is heavy and clublike and has a pointy, sharp tip. Imagine a heavy and sharp fireplace poker. The trainers hit the elephants with the bull hook in various parts of their body, so that they comply – “learn.”
Sounds too horrendous to believe, doesn’t it? But there is plenty of testimony by former Ringling employees that says as much, and lots of video that shows as much – some of it as new as this year. To see an extensive array of germane video footage in less than eight minutes, you could hardly do better than watching the award-winning piece on Ringling and its abuse of Asian elephants by television journalist Leslie Griffith, who has won nine local Emmys and two Edward R. Murrow Awards, It’s at www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3rQzLOLR4M.
Keen observers of Ms. Griffith’s work will notice that it’s from 2004, and might reasonably wonder whether Ringling has improved its treatment of animals. Nope. In October 2006, Robert Tom, a former animal keeper who worked for Ringling for nearly two years (his wife, Margaret, also was employed by the circus) issued a notarized declaration – six pages of hair-raising accounts of animal neglect, abuse and cruelty in and around the big top.
Mr. Tom’s experiences echo those of Archele Faye Hundley, a young mother of five, who worked as part of the animal crew. Her lengthy September 2006 notarized declaration, notes: “I quit the circus because the animal abuse was too upsetting. The abuse was not once in awhile, it occurred every day.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, along with three other not-for-profit animal welfare organizations – The Fund For Animals, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Protection Institute – are in the midst of litigation, under the Federal Endangered Species Act, against Ringling. The allegations detail the routine abuse and neglect of Asian elephants. The groups are joined in the lawsuit by a former Ringling employee, Tom Rider, who worked as a barn man for the elephants for 21/2 years, and is featured in the Griffith piece.
I digress here briefly for a prediction: Ringling owner Kenneth Feld surely will dispatch someone to respond to this piece – could be an official employee or maybe someone in the guise of a Ringling fan writing a letter to the editor – to dismiss these contentions as the ravings of a misinformed loon.
There will be rosy scenarios offered about their training, about their “conservation efforts” (their Center for Elephant Conservation is little more than a facility to restock the touring units with fresh pachyderms), about how great their animals are treated, etc. There are millions of dollars at stake, and elephants are the prime drawing cards, so when someone is critical of the operation, Mr. Feld and his fellow Ringling panjandrums typically mobilize quickly. And they’ll say anything
Nonetheless, let’s just say, for the sake of ludicrous argument, that nothing untoward is visited on elephants in the course of their big top training. They’re still forced to travel in those train cars or trucks to perform up to three shows a day and to spend most of their non-performance time anchored by leg chains.
Let me hasten to add that I’m not at all universally opposed to circuses, just those that use animals. There are numerous animal-free circuses – perhaps the most famous is Cirque du Soleil, but the last list I saw featured more than 20 such outfits.
If your family has a hankering to see a circus, go to one of those. But attending a Ringling performance is tantamount to endorsing animal abuse.
Read it online HERE
Nov 18, 2011 News Reports Woman Posing and Petting Over Age Cub at Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota owned by Kay Rosaire:
September 13, 2011: Wonderful but sad … my last hugs and kisses with Ghandi today. She’s now 4 months old and weighs about 30 pounds; her teeth and claws are razor sharp, and now that she’s at the Habitat, her natural instincts will take over and she’ll learn to get along with the “big cats” and become one herself. In a year’s time she’ll weigh about 400 pounds. My consolation – she’ll have a wonderful life thanks to YOU and your donations to the Habitat. Ghandi and the rest of the cats, bears, lions, ligers, wallabies, monkeys and emus need you to visit them and help Kay Rosaire and her staff take care of them. So thanks for the kisses today, Ghandi … and here’s to the next cub I get to cuddle!
I’ve tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Florida just keeps coming up on my radar as dealing in wild animals under the guise of being a rehab center.
1/14/08 a caracal named Leah died at the age of 9 at Big Cats of Serenity Springs. She had been sent by Busch Wildlife Sanctuary of Jupiter, FL on 6/7/06 to BCSS at the age of 7. David Hitzig, the Executive Director of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary said the caracal doesn’t fit in with their theme of native cats and that they’ve been holding this cat for a pet owner who lives in an apartment and is having trouble getting her license. The letter ends with a plea for Big Cats of Serenity Springs (in Colorado) to send them some bobcat kittens if they find any. That’s not how rehab works.
Viewers were told by Julie Scardina, SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Ambassador that “This baby lion cub was bought online by a young person with no knowledge of animals or reality the cub is going to grow into a 300 lb lethal Lion. It is an ongoing investigation, the parents came home and went what the? and you know realized she was confiscated and in the middle of a court case. Sold online by an Exotic Breeder”
At the time of Jay Leno’s December 5th show, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary had no lion cub available, so it appears they rented one from Animal Adventures, Inc. The cub was accompanied to the show by Animal Adventures’ volunteer Sherry Cox DeWald.
David Hitzig, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife sanctuary seems to be the one who originally arranged for the use of the cub and told the story of LC the lion cub being sold to a girl online. He appears to be a friend of Jack Hanna who is also known for renting and borrowing wild animal cubs for use on television shows like Leno, Carson and others.