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Posted on Jan 18, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name, Fakers and Haters, Most Wanted | 2 comments

G.W. Exotics Animal Foundation Joe Schreibvogel

JOE SCHREIBVOGEL

JOE “EXOTIC”

AKA JOSEPH MALDONADO

AKA JOSEPH MALDONADO-PASSAGE

If Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado has contacted you with slanderous allegations against Big Cat Rescue, check out this million dollar settlement Joe Schreibvogel consented to in favor of Big Cat Rescue.

Researched and written by Howard Baskin JD, MBA, Advisory Board Chairman of Big Cat Rescue

Joe Schreibvogel says that he and his parents started G.W. Exotic Memorial Animal Park in memory of a brother who loved animals.

On December 10, 2010 Joe wrote on Facebook

“…another employee quit today without so much as a phone call.  …all I get is a text message that reads… My brother (g.w.) would be ashamed of what I have become”

If Joe’s brother was indeed a lover of animals, this is likely to be an understatement.

As detailed below, Joe has become one of the most notorious breeders and exploiters of tiger cubs in the world.

 

DECEPTION

Below you will read about how Joe treats tiger cubs and some of his deceptions. One telling example of his dishonesty that is not cat related is his claim to be a country western singer. It is hard to imagine how anyone who hears his nasal speaking voice could believe that the voice on hi music videos is really his.  But the people he has duped into believing his nonsense seem to.  In actual fact, informant information indicates he has paid singer Vince Johnson to sing some if not all of the songs.  Then Joe makes a video lip syncing the song and claims it is him singing.

You can hear his speaking voice on his Facebook page.

Click here for an example of Joe “singing” or if the link fails you can Google Joe Schreibvogel songs.

Click here for songs by Vince Johnson to compare the voice.

If he lies about this, duping his own friends and followers, what does it say about his other claims?

ABUSE OF TIGER CUBS

 

Feds Cite Big-Cat Exhibitor Over Transport of Infant Tiger Cub 

Joe Schreibvogel operates a roadside zoo in Oklahoma with 1400 animals, including over 150 tigers, on sixteen acres, that has a history of serious animal abuse (see below).  He generates revenue by constantly breeding tiger cubs, ripping them from their mothers shortly after birth, and abusing them by carting them around from mall to mall charging people to pet them alongside a magic show he performs.  USDA rules prohibit using the cubs for this purpose after they reach 12 weeks old.  When he can no longer use them to make money, he “donates” (or by some reports sells) them, or brings to his zoo.  In most cases these animals will at best spend their entire lives in small, prison-like cells.  Current USDA regulations permit keeping an adult tiger in a cage smaller than a parking spot. Many of his cats are sent to places with a history of animal abuse violations.

What is life like for these poor cubs dragged around from mall to mall for the early weeks of their lives?  Videos of the mall exhibit reveal what they endure.

In the video below, you can see that the cub has diarrhea.  Witnesses report this was true of at least three of the cubs.  Instead of taking the cubs off display, the attendant follows the cub with a rag.  First Beth Corley wipes the floor, then she wipes the cub’s bottom with the same rag.  The cub’s bottom is likely raw and sore from the diarrhea.  You can hear the cub scream.  You can see the video under “Sick Cubs at Mall” below.

Malls who allow Joe to exhibit are supporting this abuse.  If venues would not allow acts like this, the breeding and suffering would stop.  Fortunately, more and more responsible venues are making the right decision.  For instance, after a cub display at one of their stores, Petsmart recently issued a policy that there would be no exotic animal displays at their U.S. and Canada stores.  In doing so they showed that they truly care about animals.

Joe claims that he has to breed cubs and take them out on the traveling show in order to support the animals at his zoo.   He acknowledges that this is wrong when he says in a Facebook post that he does not want to do this but is “forced to” in order to make money to support the animals at the zoo.  Joe is only forced to do this as a result of his own bad decisions and lack of caring for animals.

Joe’s latest argument to justify his rampant breeding (which he calls “selective”) is that he is doing a public service because by supplying a cub to every zoo and exhibitor who wants a tiger, he is putting out of business the “back yard breeders.”  This is a little bit like John Dillinger claiming he was doing public service by putting other bank robbers out of business because he had robbed all the banks.  It does not matter who is breeding tigers to make money from cubs and then discarding them to a life of misery.  It is just wrong.

The fact is that real sanctuaries all around the country are able to support their rescue and animal care work without adding to the problem by breeding and without abusing animals to make money.  They do that by operating facilities that have excellent animal care that donors appreciate and want to support.  They also do that by being financially responsible and not taking in more animals than they can support.

The fact that true sanctuaries all of over the country do support their animals without tormenting innocent cubs proves that it can be done.  If Joe cannot do the right thing for the animals, he should not be collecting them. If real sanctuaries around the county are capable of doing this, why can’t Joe?

Joe’s website says his zoo was started in 1999 as a way to honor his deceased brother, who reportedly loved animals.  Joe could have done exactly that.  He could have built a real sanctuary by taking in animals and giving them the kind of care that would have touched the hearts of donors who would have supported him like other real sanctuaries have done.  He says on his website that in 2005 he “grew away from the word ‘Sanctuary’ … because everyone wanted to dictate how you run a business as a sanctuary, but no one wanted to help pay the bills.”

Regarding having others “dictate”, yes, to be a real sanctuary, you have to meet certain standards of animal care. The animal abuse documented in USDA violations from 2000 to 2015, discussed below, shows he never was a sanctuary.  He could have invested time in learning the skills needed to run a true sanctuary, including how to run the financial side of a nonprofit.  He could have built a place that would have been a true tribute to a deceased animal lover.  He did not.

Young Children Bitten at GW Park

Before going into the details about Joe’s exploitation and lies, below are three videos taken in September 2011 by visitors to GW Park.  According to a USDA Fact Sheet, cubs under 8 weeks old should not be petted because their immune systems have not sufficiently developed to prevent disease.  Separately, USDA guidance forbids petting cubs over 12 weeks of age because they are dangerous.  (See 2010 in the Palazzo case upholding USDA position established in 2004).

In these three short videos you see GWPark employees blatantly violating these USDA policies and endangering the cubs and the public.  In the videos the handlers acknowledge that the cubs are 14, 15, 16, 19 or 20 weeks old.  In one video you hear the handlers laughing about a child being bitten by one of the overage cubs and being taken in to see under age cubs to appease the family.  Remarkably, just one week later, with a handler lying by saying “we have never had an incident,”  the video shows a young child jumped on and bitten by a 20 week old cub.  After that, even though in both videos the handlers talk about the smaller cubs having weak immune systems which makes public contact dangerous for them, the park manager brings out a tiny two week old cub to appease the crowd.  He allows two and three people to grope at the cub at a time.  He only stops when the poor cub, who is so young that its eyes are not even open yet, starts squealing loudly and desperately tries to climb away to avoid the petting.

As a practical matter, USDA inspectors are never going to see the animals mistreated or see animals that are too young or too old being used this way.  The inspectors do not do undercover work, they announce themselves on arrival.  An individual who worked at GW Park tells us that when the inspector arrives, someone at the park announces “USDA on the property” and some individuals are assigned to delay the inspectors while others run around filling water bowls and stop any behavior that could result in citation.  As you watch the tiny cub squealing in discomfort and fear in the third video, knowing that each of the hands you see groping at him is a threat to his infant weak immune system, and as you hear the handlers in the first video chuckle about a child being bitten, and as you see Schreibvogel in the video at the top of this page strike a tiny cub with a pole and say “just pop ’em in the ass,” ask yourself if you think Joe Schreibvogel is someone who loves animals.  Does someone who loves animals torment tiny cubs to make money?   And if you are a venue that permits his traveling exhibit to set up in your mall or fair, aside from the potential liability, is this kind of treatment of animals what you want to support?

Underage Cubs Used to Appease Crowd After Child Bitten

Sick Cubs at Mall

 Joe Schreibvogel Exposed by Inside Edition

HISTORY OF ANIMAL ABUSE

 

USDA VIOLATIONS

 

Instead of creating a sanctuary, Joe created a facility that in its early years, 2000 – 2004, was cited repeatedly by USDA for serious violations of the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act.  USDA has limited enforcement resources.  They can only take a few animal abusers to court, so they reserve that for only the most blatant cases.  Typically they will issue citations for years, giving the licensee every opportunity to correct the out of compliance conditions before they consider filing a lawsuit. After years of citations they finally sued Joe.  In April 2005 the agency filed a 20-page complaint against Joe with numerous charges, including the following:

* Failure to provide adequate veterinary care
* Failure to handle animals so that there was minimal risk of harm to the animal and to the public
* An incident in which a tiger escaped from his enclosure and attacked and seriously wounded a camel
* Transportation of 15 tigers and lions in a manner that allowed urine, feces, or both to contaminate the animals caged below
* Lack of potable water for 18 lions, 23 tigers, 15 bears, 20 cougars, three leopards, and a pig
* Lack of employees present to provide care to 80 large, dangerous cats
* Lack of knowledge by employees about how often the animals were fed
* Filthy, wet, unsafe, and dilapidated enclosures
* Failure to handle animals in a manner that does not cause trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort
* Failure to provide animals with minimum space
* Exposed live, bare wires in tiger nursery play area

 

In July 25, 2017 USDA licensees (We believe Beth Corley is just another alias for Joe because she hasn’t been reported at this facility since about 2011) at this facility were cited for failure to keep accurate acquisition and disposal records on the animals, including a lack of reporting who and where animals came from or went, and failure to keep an accurate census.  Read the USDA violation.

On May 15, 2017 a tiger escaped her enclosure and was noticed wandering the grounds at feeding time.  The tiger was reportedly shot to death by Joe.  Read the USDA violation.

On October 19, 2016 licensees were cited for injury to a tiger due to feeding a large group of tigers in a single pen by throwing meat into the frenzy.  They were also cited for rancid meat left to rot on top of the shade stands from the same practice.  Reach the USDA violation.

On May 19, 2016 licensees were cited for failing to throw out medication that was two years passed the expiry date.  A live mouse was seen on the floor of the lemur cage and a half eaten mouse was in the capuchin cage in the medical building.  The report states there is no professional vermin control measure in practice.  Instead they said they put out poison…poison that could be consumed by the rats and then by the primates. Read the USDA violations.

On February 1, 2016 Joe Maldonado was cited for failure to provide sufficient barriers between the public and adult lions and tigers. He was also cited for rusting metal panels in the baboon enclosure that had sharp edges around the hole that could harm the primates.  Read his USDA violations.

On the same day, Feb. 1, 2016 Beth Corley (We believe Beth Corley is just another alias for Joe because she hasn’t been reported at this facility since about 2011) was blamed for not including 14 tigers in the census that came from Serenity Springs on 12/18/15.  Read that USDA violation.

In November 2015 Schreibvogel / Maldonado was cited for dangerous conditions for his cubs who were being raised in a room with “live, bare electrical wires” and glass window panes within reach of the cubs that could provide both injury or a way of escape.  He was also cited for improper handling of food for the animals.  Records indicate 99 tigers at this time.  Read the USDA violation.

In August 2015 Schreibvogel / Maldonado was cited for displaying a 19 day old liger cub at the Mississippi State Fair. Read the USDA violation.

In July 2015 Schreibvogel / Maldonado was cited for fly infestation, filthy food bowls, inadequate methods of temperature control for primates, unsafe fencing and more. Read the USDA violations.

In March 2015 Schreibvogel / Maldonado was cited for a “trail of rodent droppings” on the rails between cages, food stored on the floors, dirty food receptacles, rotting meat on top of the cages, where keepers had apparently tried to throw it into the cages and failed, a decomposing rat that was intended as food, no shade for a tiger named Batista and more. Read the USDA violations.

In August 2014 Schreibvogel was cited for standing water, food and waste in an open ditch next to the primates, described by the inspector as “an open sewer,” unsafe caging, “numerous wasps” in the primate shed, tigers being kept in a cage where the gate hinge had “rusted through”, “significant” rust in a support pole, no water and no water bowls in the grizzly cage, rancid meat on the floor of the tiger cage that was covered in maggots, numerous ants and food stuck in the feed chutes that was covered in ants. At this time records show 100 tigers.  Twenty one more tigers than just 5 months ago.   Read the USDA violations.

In April 2014 Schreibvogel was cited because a bear, named Crybaby, had been injured on April 2, resulting in a 4-8 inch long laceration.  The vet was said to have stitched up the bear, but the wound was reopened 3 days later.  Apparently Joe re stitched the bear, without the vet, but on April 14 workers reported that the wound was open.  The vet came on April 15 and euthanized the bear.  He was cited for failing to have the vet care for the injured bear between April 5 and April 15.

In March 2014 Schreibvogel was cited for inadequate vet care, rusty cages with sharp, protruding edges, a missing plank in the tiger’s walkway and exposed screw.  At this time Joe claimed to own 79 tigers, which is 15 fewer tigers than this same time last year.  Read the USDA violations.

In March 2013 Schreibvogel was cited for fencing and a gate that was leaning and sagging and could provide a means of escape, a broken roof in a tiger’s enclosure, inadequate shade.  At this time records indicated 94 tigers. Read the USDA violations.

In January 2006 Schreibvogel consented to a $25,000 fine and a probation period. Based on inspections since, hopefully conditions have improved.  But, for over five years before USDA forced changes, the animals Joe “rescued” were subjected to the horrible conditions USDA cited.

In September 2009 USDA issued a warning notice for alleged violations of the AWA handling requirements stemming from separate incidents that occurred in 2007 and 2008, one involving a customer injured by a lion cub.

On September 13, 2011 Schreibvogel was cited by USDA for failing to provide veterinary care to two animals.

On December 1, 2011 Schreibvogel was cited by USDA for improper handling related to an incident in September 2011 at GW Park where young boy was injured by a tiger cub.

23 CUBS DIED AT GW PARK

Schreibvogel is currently under investigation by USDA for the deaths of 23 tiger cubs and separately for other possible violations of the AWA.  The cubs died between April 2009 and May 2010 according to what Joe’s people reported to the FDA.  Any responsible facility would have done necropsies on the  initial deaths.  Joe finally did necropsies on one or two of the last cubs to die and called in FDA to test the formula.  The necropsies indicated curdled milk formula in the stomachs of the cubs.  So, Joe insists that the cubs were killed by “bad formula.”  But, the FDA testing of the samples Joe provided and of samples from the manufacturer found nothing wrong with the formula.  This formula must be stored, handled, mixed and administered properly.  Since FDA found nothing wrong with the formula itself, if the cubs did die from the formula, the most logical conclusion is that it was because Joe’s staff did not do one or more of these activities properly.

 

PETA INVESTIGATION

 

Between February and June 2006, a PETA investigator working at GW Exotics kept a log documenting a pattern of abuse.  These included animals seriously injured from fighting, food dishes teeming with maggots, hungry animals who went without food, animals who were abused and beaten by staff.  For instance, here are two examples from http://www.peta.org/features/gw-the-animals.aspx:

 

JULIE, THE THREE-LEGGED LION

On his first day on the job, PETA’s investigator met Julie, a three-legged lioness, who had a bloody, raw, and gaping hole where her right front leg used to be. Julie had been attacked by two tigers who literally chewed and tore her leg off and then ate it. The remaining stump of her leg had to be amputated and when she pulled out the stitches, Julie’s open wound went untreated.Though she moaned and whimpered for days, she was given nothing for pain. Julie languished in a small and barren indoor cage on a concrete floor with nothing more than a small towel for comfort. Although she was bred and born at the zoo, [J1] tells people that he “rescued” Julie and that she was injured before coming to the zoo.

 

‘THE VEGAS TIGERS’

GW’s Holiday 2005 newsletter reported that the Fercos Bros., a Siegfried & Roy wannabe magic act in Las Vegas, gave the park two male tigers who had “outgrown” the stage. Two days after PETA’s investigator started working at the park, the “Vegas tigers,” as they were called, were killed by lethal injection because staff decided they were “mean.”

Reportedly, the tigers’ teeth were cut out, and one was decapitated and his head given to the veterinarian’s husband to be mounted. When the Fercos came to visit the tigers in June, they were told that the cats were killed when lightning struck their cage during a storm.

Below is a video by the investigator showing a dying horse left suffering, workers beating animals with tools, and a worker explaining how they forge the feeding log to say animals were fed that were not because USDA had no way to prove otherwise.

According to one report “PETA activists took their recordings to law enforcement, but no charges were filed after authorities said no criminal activity occurred in the videos they viewed. Federal agents inspected the park twice after the videos were released and found no violations. Schreibvogel claimed the PETA videos took out of context what was going on, but did admit he had fired four of the employees featured in the investigation.” Although authorities decided not to file criminal charges, it is hard to imagine the behavior in this video not being animal abuse no matter what the “context.”

For more on PeTA’s investigation visit http://www.peta.org/features/gw.aspx


IS JOE AN ANIMAL LOVER?

Allowing animals to suffer horrible conditions for years until USDA forced him to correct them clearly contradicts Joe’s claim to be a lover of animals. His current argument that he should be allowed to abuse cubs and subject a steady stream of them to lifelong misery in order to support those he has collected raises further doubts. He accepts animals from places known for animal abuse without regard for the fact that these places continue to operate and abuse more animals. Is that a rescuer, or someone just building the “world’s largest” big cat zoo to satisfy his ego?

 

IS JOE A PERSON OF CHARACTER AND PROFESSIONALISM?

 

To get an insight into Joe’s character, let’s look at a few examples of his behavior.

Photos of PETA and BCR effigies being killed. One of his responses to criticism from PETA and BIG CAT RESCUE was to post photos on his Facebook page showing figures labeled PETA and BCR with guns to their heads, hangman’s nooses around their necks, and a bow and arrow pointed at them.

If you are a manager of a mall reading this, is this the kind of person you want to be associated with?

Photo shooting polar bear cub. One mall executive found out how professional Joe is when his company decided they did not want to be associated with Joe’s abuse. Joe, using one of his “stage names” Aarron Alex, accused the management company online of “supporting the killing of animals” and posted a photo with his proposed boycott of their properties showing a polar bear plush toy with a handgun to its head and the title “If Mama Don’t Want It Don’t Nobody Want It.”

If you were a mall owner or manager, is this the kind of vendor you want?

Registering URLs in Name of Dead Person. Another rather bizarre behavior is that in recent years Joe has been in the habit of registering new internet URL’s using the name Brian Rhyne, who the GW website said died in 2001. What kind of person uses a dead man’s name to register their websites? Recently Joe has been changing some of these, perhaps as a result of this strange behavior being commented upon online.

Crude, sexually oriented comments and lies.  Joe and a small band of cronies, most of whom are people who support subjecting exotic animals to the unsuitable condition of being pets, constantly post blatant lies, sometimes sexually oriented, about his critics.  Some of the Facebook identities making these comments are fake identities set up by Joe or this group.  For instance, it is hard to imagine that his Facebook supporter “Carole Backsins” is anything more than a shallow and childish alteration of the name of Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue.

 

JOE’S MULTIPLE COMPANY NAMES AND PERSONAL NAMES

 

Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado-Passage is or has also known individually as:

 

 Joe Exotic

Aarron Alex

Cody Ryan

 

And doing business as:

 

5 Continent Productions

Garold Wayne Interactive Zoo

G.W. Exotic Animal Foundation

G.W. Exotic Animal Park

G.W. Exotic Memorial Animal Foundation

G.W. Exotic Memorial Animal Park

Alex Productions

Awakening Productions

Awakening Rescue

Big Cat Rescue Entertainment Group

Corley’s Exotics

Mystical Magic of the Endangered

Tigers in Need

Welch’s Entertainment Group

Welch’s Tiger Experience

Welch’s Great Cat Adventure

World Magic

and others.

What about all those company names listed above? One of the most basic principles in marketing is to develop a consistent brand image. The problem for Joe is that his brand is tainted by his animal abuse, so he keeps making up new names. He really went to town in 2010 adding at least four of the names listed above.

He says he uses different names to avoid the “animal activists.” Joe is not fooling any of the people who fight to protect animals and want him to stop abusing the cubs. They find him no matter what entity name he uses. The only people he can fool this way are the members of the public. One individual, Aaron Wissner, whose posts indicate he simply was concerned at what he saw at a mall and wanted to find out who “Tigers in Need” was, spent what had to be hours researching. Some of his information came from prior versions of this page, but much he obtained elsewhere. A URL to his research appears at the bottom of this page.

Joe’s Names. In addition to using his own name, Joe has performed his magic act using Joe Exotic, Aarron Alex, and Cody Ryan. Cody Ryan frequently performs as a duo with a man named Aaron Stone. Joe posts disparaging remarks about his critics under both his own name and Aarron Alex, and Aaron Stone has shown up with similar comments as a “volunteer” on at least one post.

Joe’s Accomplices. Joe has two accomplices in the subterfuge of his entity “name game.” One is Beth Corley. Joe has one USDA license. Beth Corley has her own license, registered at the same address as Joe’s, i.e. the G.W. Animal Park address. The other accomplice is Vicky Welch, spelled with a “y” in news reports, but with an “i” when Joe uses her name to register URL’s for the new names he makes up for the magic act and cub display. She travels with the show and has been referred to in the press as “road manager and animal caretaker” for Awakening Productions.

Are they all interconnected? It would take too long to give details on each here. We have built an excel spreadsheet sorting out his maze. Some names are registered as Trade Names of G.W. Exotics. Others are separate corporations. And still others are not registered at all with the Oklahoma Secretary of State nor show up on the IRS.gov site as nonprofits even though they claim to be.

Just for example, let’s look at one person and one entity.

Beth Corley. As mentioned, Beth has a USDA license registered at Joe’s address. Beth is referred to in an online news story posted by Joe as “Director” of Big Cat Rescue Entertainment. She is referred to by a reporter for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, IN as “Beth Corley, a worker with Big Cat Rescue” (failing to include the “Entertainment”). A report in The Telegraph on the exhibit at the Alton Square Mall in Alton, IL in July 2010 refers to “Beth Corley, co-founder of Welch’s Entertainment.” The Fremont Tribune from Fremont, NE on 1-28-10 refers to “Corley’s Exotics, run by Beth Corley of G.W. Exotic Animal Park.”

Tigers In Need. Now, let’s take one entity, or one name since it does not actually appear to be an entity, “Tigers In Need”. As of this writing, we could not find it registered as a Trade Name nor as a separate Corporation, so it appears to be just a made up name. One advantage, assuming that is intentional, is that it is difficult to know who “owns” it. Below is a list of some of the ways in which Tiger In Need is connected to the other entities and accomplice names:

1) The URL tigersinneed.org was registered 1/30/10. Before 7/29/10 the WHOIS report showed Registrant Name was “Tigers in need” and Registrant Email was Joe_Exotic@Yahoo.com. On 7-29-10 the registration was changed to show Registrant Name as Vicki Welch and Registrant Email left blank.

2) The tigersinneed.org website has a description that clearly is GW Park. It refers to being started in 1999 in Southern Oklahoma and having over 150 big cats. It says “Please note that we are a non-profit organization and are not affiliated with any other company”, when it clearly is the same facility as the GW Exotic zoo.

3) The “Contact Us” link at tigersinneed.org brings up “Florida Office 813-361-9611”, the same phone being used by Big Cat Rescue Entertainment.

4) The “Guestbook” link at tigersinneed.org contains comments from visitors to the Alton Mall in July. The Alton, IL newspaper, The Telegraph, reporting on the show at the mall, refers to the cats being “just a few of the 150 or so from the Tigers In Need refuge in Wynnewood, Okla. Welch’s Entertainment holds the tours…to raise money for Tigers In Need.” It quotes “Beth Corley, co-founder of Welch’s Entertainment.”

5) The Davis County Clipper 7-27-10 in Bountiful, UT refers to Welch’s Tiger Experience also being called Tigers in Need.

6) An event notice on the East Town Mall website was titled Tigers in Need formally (sic – formerly) Awakening Productions.

What kind of person creates a maze of entities like this, and for what legitimate purpose?

 

JOE’S FALSEHOODS

 

Joe and his employee Bobbi Corona have a total disregard for the truth that is remarkable. He says and writes whatever nonsense he decides to make up. PeTA identified statements about his breeding and selling that they show to be false at http://www.peta.org/features/gw-exotic-animal-trade.aspx

Here are some examples where Joe misleads or issues totally false statements:

Tigers In Need Nonprofit and Not Affiliated. His many names and entities and the deception that they foist on the public are discussed above. A number of his entities, like Tigers In Need, have claimed on their websites, literature and press reports to be “nonprofit.” They do not show up as registered trade names of a nonprofit, nor on the IRS site under their own names. G.W. Exotic Animal Park is a nonprofit, so maybe Joe thinks that any name he wants to call it by becomes a nonprofit, even when he is denying that the name is associated with GW. The other deception is the idea that these are not related. Tigers In Need, which clearly is just another name for the GW Animal Park, has on its website at this writing “we… are not affiliated with any other company”, an obviously false statement.  Then, in his depositions in our lawsuit, he did an about face and says that G.W. Exotic Animal Park, Tigers in Need and Big Cat Rescue Entertainment are all the same.  He claims he never intended to file Big Cat Rescue Entertainment as a separate company, it should have been a d/b/a.  This is in spite of the fact that he first registered it as a d/b/a, then redrew that registration and filed it as a separate corporation.

Howard Baskin cub display video. Howard Baskin, husband of Carole Baskin from Big Cat Rescue, went undercover at a tiger cub exhibit to get video showing the cubs’ distress and the exhibitor’s lies. He then made a video explaining in detail why these exhibits are abusive and provided details about the particular exhibitor involved and the poor conditions at her facility. The video included the video clip at the top of this page showing Joe’s cubs with diarrhea. You can see the 6 minute video at http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

What did Joe do? He issued a “press release” on PRLog claiming that Carole does not know that “her husband has been going behind her back to either pet or play with a baby tiger cub.” He quoted the owner of the exhibit, someone who says Joe “donated” a cub to her, as saying “Maybe this is how he gets his kicks since he cant (sic) get them at home…” So, Joe, Howard Baskin goes behind his wife’s back to pet tiger cubs, then makes a video and has her post it on the Big Cat Rescue website. Pretty darn sneaky of him. Surely she will never know. Does a truthful person of character post a press release like this?

Joe claims he is no longer the one displaying the cubs. This one is a gem. Joe recently started saying that people concerned about the abuse in the cub exhibit should leave him alone and are lying if they associate him with it because the cub exhibit is under the USDA license of another person. In a Facebook post 11/4/10 Joe says “I DON’T USE CUBS (his caps) anylonger (sic), all I do is Magic shows.”

Let’s think about that one. The USDA licensee is now not Joe. It is Beth Corley. But her license is registered at the same address as his and she has historically travelled with the show. Her connections to his various entities are detailed above. The proceeds of the show are still advertised as going to Tigers In Need, basically just another made up name for Joe’s GW Exotics Animal Park as shown above. So the show still benefits Joe’s zoo. But since the cubs are technically registered under his co-worker’s license Joe has nothing to do with the cubs show? Sure, Joe.

Breeding “A Select Few”. Joe says he breeds “a select few.” Were the 23 cubs that died mid 2010 a select few? He is constantly breeding to supply his road show. He can be heard in the PeTA video yelling at the cats to breed because he needed cubs for the road show.

Laws restricting private ownership cause abandonment. The GW Exotic website “About” page claims the laws banning private exotic animal ownership are the cause of the abandonment of exotics that Joe has to rescue. This is utter nonsense. New bans typically grandfather in private owners. But more importantly, it is private ownership that causes the abandonment. If private ownership were banned nationwide, which it should be like it is in many states and many other nations, there would be NO abandonment because no private owners would have them!

The steady increase in legislation banning private ownership represents recognition by our society that private ownership leads to massive abuse. Social values evolve. It took decades to ban slavery in England and for women to win the right to vote in America. Those ideas started out as “radical”, held by a small minority. Gradually more and more people understood and agreed until they became a part of our value system that we take for granted today. The same trend is happening with private ownership of exotics. Gradually more and more people are realizing that this simply leads to widespread abuse of these animals. The best evidence of this is the accelerating trend in state laws. Just since 2005 eight more states have passed some level of ban.

GW Exotic is “Accredited”. Joe says he is “accredited”.  He is accredited by United States Zoological Association. Tis is an organization Joe himself created in August 2008. The Registered Agent for USZA in the Oklahoma Secretary of State records is Joe Schreibogel.  When he set up the USZA.us website, he used his email address, but listed the Registered Agent as Brian Rhyne, a man who Joe’s own website said died in 2001.  In one fax Joe claims USZA has “nearly 2 million supporters,” another blatant lie.

What kind of organization is it? The USZA website has a page where people can list exotic animals they want to give away, sell or buy. On 11/7/10 the section listing cats for sale offered “baby white tigers” with the notation “great breed stock”. The sellers are only listed by a code. This code for this seller was “600 OK”. As in Oklahoma. Most likely Joe.

Joe refers to his park as a zoo.  The recognized accrediting body in the zoo industry is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Joe is not accredited by AZA.  Being accredited implies having been reviewed by some independent organization and found to have met certain standards.   Forming your own entity to accredit yourself does not qualify as “accredited.”

People Magazine cover.  On his Facebook page for “Joe Exotic” Joe shows “Cody Ryan” ( aka Joe) and Aaron Stone on the cover of People Magazine for “September 2010”, giving the impression they were actually on that cover. They were not.

Joe is Police Chief. On Examiner.com Joe says he “is a former police chief of the Colony Tx…”.

The Colony website http://www.ci.the-colony.tx.us/Depts/pd/PoliceHistory.html contains the list of past and present police chiefs below. The policeman we spoke with by phone at The Colony police department advised that Joe Schreibvogel was never an officer there.

Since The Colony was formed, it has had 6 Chiefs of Police:
Jim Beltran August 1977 to May 1978
John Steinseck July 1978 to September 1979
Nick Ristagno Jan 1980 to April 1990
Ted Gibson December 1990 to February 1992
Bruce Stewart December 1992 to September 1995
Joe Clark April 1996 to Present

Other places Joe mentions being an officer, then Chief, of Eastvale, TX, a small town of about 500 people that years later merged into The Colony.

Disparagement of Big Cat Rescue. Joe has become almost obsessed with disparaging Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue. He set up a website for this purpose. The “About” section contains the obvious lie that the site is written by “a group of independent reporters.” Sure, Joe.

In March 2010 he visited Big Cat Rescue as a tour guest, took photos, then captioned them with ridiculous lies. In September 2010 he visited again, this time taking a video of the tour. He made nonsensical comments into the microphone during the tour, including childish insults about the hard working volunteers he saw, then added captions with false statements like he did with his photos. He then flew low over the sanctuary for an extended period of time in a helicopter stressing the cats (not the act of someone who loves animals.)

A few examples of his false statements:

1) He questions the guide’s reference to Big Cat Rescue being accredited with a caption asking by whom. As he knows, the accreditation is by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries whose board is composed of members to the largest animal protection organizations.

2) He claims Carole is getting rich from the sanctuary. Carole has worked for 17 years without any salary or other compensation. In fact she donated the land, some investment properties, and made substantial cash donations. After 9/11 when tourism stopped and donations diminished she was selling her car and personal household belongings to pay for food for the cats.

3) He makes sarcastic, ridiculous comments about cage sizes and cleanliness that anyone who visits would realize are total nonsense. For instance, he shows a small portion of a cage and presents it as the entire cage. Or, he shows a structure made of small logs we built just for the cat’s entertainment and claims it is the den and the cat does not have proper shelter, when in fact the real den is nearby and Joe knows it.

Joe, using his alias Aarron Alex, misused the Care2 Petition site to post his photos and start a petition. Martha Hoffman, a person who had visited Big Cat Rescue a number of times, took the time to write to Care2 documenting the false statements. The last sentence of her first paragraph pretty much says it all:

“I am writing in regard to the BCR sanctuary and the accusations lodged by Aarron Alex. My husband and I are residents of Florida, living on the east coast. We have on numerous occasions visited the BCR participating in the different tours offered. Therefore we have walked the premises at different hours and NEVER have we seen anything in the context of what Mr. Aarron Alex has presented. He purposely distorts every single picture.”

To read the full text of her post where she explains the distortions in detail click here.

Finally, one of Joe’s more absurd posts implies that USDA does not do anything about his bogus complaints because “word has it that she (Carole) has a USDA person living on her property.” Sure Joe – and do Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa share a house with the mysterious “USDA person?”

Joe clearly does not have the slightest concern about whether what he says or writes is true. He makes up whatever he thinks will serve his purpose. The strange part is that he makes statements that are so obviously and outrageously not true. He does not even TRY to keep within the bounds of something that would make sense and be believable, except perhaps to his exotic animal owner following.

 

LACK OF FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY

 

Credible nonprofits display their financials to proudly show that they are good shepherds of their donors’ contributions. At this writing, none of Joe’s related entities have financial information on their websites. Some of the entities were formed too recently to have filed the required nonprofit IRS form 990, and the G.W. Exotics 990 for 2009 does not yet appear on Guidestar, so the only financial information available is GW Exotic’s 2008 Form 990.

For revenue, the 2008 Form 990 shows $501k in donations and $9k in sales of inventory. Expenses were $447k, with only $3k in salaries and only $48k in animal feed. If food was donated, it is supposed to be recorded as a “noncash” donation and included in the contribution number. So they spent $34/year per animal for food. This is not possible. And salaries of only $3k? Something does not add up. Meantime, Beth Corley is quoted in the press as saying it takes $60k/month to care for their 156 tigers, or $720k/year. They may have had fewer tigers in 2008, but what about the 1200+ other animals?

The 990 shows G.W. Exotic owning about $400k in Land, Buildings, and Equipment. But, this does not include the 16 acres the park sits on. According to county records, Joe owns that personally.

Joe says he displays the cubs to make money to support the park. He recently reported making a record $23,697 in five days. Imagine how many people had to handle these poor cubs in those five days to generate that. Think about how you would feel if that were a human baby. Is it really so much different for a tiger cub that at that age should be spending long hours sleeping just like a human baby?

 

COMMENTS AND RESEARCH BY OTHERS

 

Others have either done homework on Joe or posted comments that provide additional information.

PeTA. PeTA’s webite is referenced above. It mentions documents in which Joe has made false statements. It also provides a list of the other disreputable exotic animal breeders, exhibitors, etc. with whom Joe deals in his rescuing and placing of animals. See http://www.peta.org/features/gw.aspx  Joe repeatedly refers to this undercover work as “faked” or a “frame job,” which is absolutely absurd.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Joe Schreibvogel is one of the best examples in the nation of why private ownership of big cats should be banned. He has a history of abuse, breeds big cats adding to the number that live a miserable life in small cages, breeds and takes in more than he can financially support, and justifies the current abuse by saying he needs to do it to make money to support the other animals. He shows himself to be totally devoid of integrity and professionalism with his inappropriate photos depicting violence against his critics and by constantly posting material online that he knows is devoid of any semblance of truth.

Venues who host exhibits like this and the public who “pay to play” don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. We hope the information on this page helps. The best way to stop this form of abuse is to have venues and the public understand what really happens to these animals and choose not to support the misery Joe and those like him create.

Joe prefers to be a zoo rather than a sanctuary. Two individuals who say they know Joe say he has told them his goal is to be the “world’s largest” animal facility. But he could make a different choice. If Joe took all the time he spends online ranting untruths about those who object to his abuse of these cubs and devoted it to trying to learn the skills necessary to operate a real sanctuary, and if he focused on having a number of animals that he could reasonably support instead of being “the world’s largest”, he might be able to support his animals without having to abuse some to do it. No one who runs a real sanctuary will tell you it is easy, and Joe might not be able to do it. But that is not a reason to let him continue to breed and abuse generation after generation of innocent cubs.

 

PAGES REFERRED TO ABOVE

Marsha Hoffman letter to Care2 re Aarron Alex Petition disparaging Big Cat Rescue

TO: Care2

I am writing in regard to the BCR sanctuary and the accusations lodged by Aarron Alex.My husband and I are residents of Florida, living on the east coast. We have on numerous occasions visited the BCR participating in the different tours offered. Therefore we have walked the premises at different hours and NEVER have we seen anything in the context of what Mr. Aarron Alex has presented. He purposely distorts every single picture.

First, I would like to address the various tours / money making claim. To the credit of the BCR their tours are considerably smaller than those of other sanctuaries we have visited. Total number of people for day tours is 20 people. This is done so as not to upset the animals. The price of their tours are very much in line with other sanctuaries .. in some cases less. Public is NOT permitted to wander around outside of the tour as in other sanctuaries. While the tours do provide income, that money is used for the benefit of the inhabitants and the wonderful education provided by BCR in regard to exotic animals. I don’t understand this complaint. Seems to me they are just reaching for something that isn’t there to try to discredit this sanctuary especially because they charge for their zoo. BCR, like every other sanctuary, need income to provide for the care of the animals. He complains that Carole Baskin did not do the tour – as they are done by volunteers. Ms. Baskin has a sanctuary to run that is why she has volunteers do the tours.

Further Ms.Baskin’s only concern/interest is that of the welfare of the animals. The BCR is a true sanctuary. Animals are not exploited, do not do tricks, are not handled by the public etc .. which is in complete contrast to the “sanctuary” zoo Mr. Aarron Alex is associated with. See -http://www.gwpark.org/e – BCR on the other hand, is a quiet, peaceful place for animals to live out their lives as close to their natural habitats as possible.

As far as the pictures go I am appalled at the distortions. Pictures were taken of the animals close up and do not show full enclosures. Yes, several of the enclosures are round, but what Alex neglected to say is how large they are .. ranging from actually one full acre to smaller ones for smaller cats. Pictures of cats resting on rocks, or sitting in a hut/cave are close ups and do not show the background.

Examples of distortion and lies ..

1 – Cat sitting in small cage with water dish … This is the feeding cage. Every animal has it’s own cage to go to when their food is distributed. As a matter of fact, if one is at the BCR a half hour or so, before feeding, due to the schedule one would see animals sitting patiently in their feeding cage waiting for the feeding. Animals are given any necessary medications and carefully observed while in these small cages. Also it is at this time that keepers clean out the enclosures.

2 – Wild feral cats roaming around. This is absolutely not true. The domestic cats are all friendly felines who come up to people during tours for belly rubs, ears to be scratched and the treats the various volunteers/staff carry with them. I have never seen a feral cat in the area. If you look at the cat Alex has taken a picture of, you will see a very healthy animal, well groomed and certainly well fed. All domestic cats are taken for their shots and cared for/loved every bit as well as the big cats.

3 – Dead trees …. each year different organizations/stores donate unsold Christmas trees – this is simply to add variety to the enclosures and make them more jungle like. These trees bring new smells for the animals and offer something new to investigate.

4 – Poop in enclosures. We have never ever seen unclean enclosures. The staff is constantly cleaning and maintaining the enclosures. Again a factor for the small feeding cages. These cages lock while the animal is feeding and gives the staff ample time to maintain healthy clean enclosures. See point #1.

5 – There is a picture of a tiger lying by the side of the enclosure, but if you look closely, you will see green grass in the background and a pond. This is the “round” enclosure Alex speaks about ………however, he neglects to say it is one acre in size and has a pond for the tigers to swim in.

6 – Black big cat on a rock …. this is where the animal goes to sun himself – the entire rest of the enclosure is conveniently cut out of the picture. There are trees to climb, grass to roll in and a den to hide in ……..not in the picture though.

7 – He portrays huts/dens as horrible small caves where the animals huddle in. These dens or huts are usually in the middle of an enclosure and true to natural habitats of cats where they sleep, have their cubs and spend a good deal of their time. Once again he has conveniently eliminated the large area that house these huts/dens.

8 – There is a tiger lying down on it’s back, with all four legs in the air and belly exposed. What Alex evidently does not understand is that cats, wild or domestic will only take this position if they are truly secure and content. This position makes a cat very vulnerable to attack from a predator. Obviously this tiger is full of trust and totally comfortable in its surroundings.

9 – Three legged Serval. Desiree was rescued from the side of a road in AZ that way. Aarron Alex tries to make the reader believe that this happened to the Serval while it was at BCR ……..a bold faced lie!

I would like to invite you to visit http://www.bigcatrescue.org/videos and view the various videos they have about their sanctuary. You will see how it disputes everything presented by this man. Then go to …http://www.911animalabuse.com/00abusers/GWExotics.htm. Quite a contrast. In Aarron Alex’s write up which accompanies the petition he has the audacity to accuse the BCR of exploiting animals for money when his so called “sanctuary” does exactly that. BCR is not a show place – instead it is a true sanctuary for animals to live out their lives in dignity and peace. Enclosures are not done in glittering, elaborate circus like manner – instead they are done in a calm, tranquil, soothing way to exemplify the natural habitat of each animal.

I respectfully request that you remove this petition due to the untruths, deceptions and blatant distortions. Mr. Aarron Alex obviously went to there for the sole purpose of causing trouble. He knew exactly what he was doing and wanted to accomplish. Please don’t be a party to this sort of dishonesty.

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

Jungle Safari AKA The Zoo Pat and Robert Engesser

Jungle Safari AKA The Zoo Pat and Robert Engesser

Jungle Safari AKA The Zoo Pat and Robert Engesser

Jungle Safari (formerly known as Engesser’s Exotic Felines, Luce Enterprises, The Zoo, and Endangered Species, Inc.)  is a privately-owned traveling petting zoo which spends 9 months of the year displaying big cats and their cubs in the parking lots of malls and shopping centers.  Although it occasionally claims to be a “rescue,” owners Pat and Robert Engesser are for-profit big cat breeders who have repeatedly failed to comply with minimal animal care standards established in the federal Animal Welfare Act.

USDA inspectors have cited Jungle Safari numerous times for repeatedly failing to provide animals with appropriate food, water, veterinary care, and enrichment, failing to maintain enclosures and transport trailers, and housing animals in filthy cages. They have also been cited for exhibiting animals with zoonotic (transmissible to humans) diseases, for the death of a tiger cub, and for the injury of a 5-year-old girl who was attacked by a leopard.

In 2016, a Jungle Safari employee was arrested for multiple counts of sexually molesting young girls who visited the exhibit. A lawsuit brought against the petting zoo and the shopping plaza they were set up at alleged that Jungle Safari continued to allow this employee to work with children even after his misconduct was brought to their attention.

Note the first cub is only 6 weeks old and not even old enough for her first inoculations to protect her from disease.  USDA guidelines say she should still be with her mother until she’s four weeks old.  If that had happened she wouldn’t tolerate being touched by humans.  She’s clearly stressed and wants to nurse when the keeper tosses in the furry toy.  The 10 month old is biting her front paws hard and the videographer notes that back claws are visible, but it looks like she’s been declawed on the front, even though that’s been illegal since 2006.  When asked what zoo the cubs are going to the keepers get vague and we are pretty sure it’s because they aren’t proud of the circumstances that await these cubs.

This is what videographers have to say:

Published on Jul 4, 2012 by Sophiaz123

“Tigers need water to cool off in hot weather. This is a horrid Zoo Safari in Hamilton, Ohio in front of Big Lots on Rt. 4, july 4th, the temperature was 100 degrees and VERY humid. Taken at 5pm. Sorry only 9 seconds. Shot a second video but was shakier than this one. I was very upset and trying to hold it together. I am sure the fan on him feels like a hot blow dryers. Disgusting that this Robert Engesser guy calls himself a “traveling zoo” when it’s nothing but Animal Cruelty Galore. From Chiefland, Florida. Google him yourself. Disturbing. He has a camel, monkeys, goats and wild cats. He keeps his cats in cages like this for MINIMUM of 4 weeks. It can NEVER walk around!! Disgraceful. Tigers need to swim to cool off. I saw no water. The police did nothing when I called them. Powerless they said ????”

 

https://www.facebook.com/OutreachForAnimals/videos/3160931756024/

Tim Harrison of Outreach for Animals filmed this disturbing video at Jungle Safari in 2012. He writes:

“I went there and could not believe what I saw. The big cats, (tigers, a black leopard, and a lion cub) were overheated and panting rapidly. The temperature was 96 degrees (110 heat index) The tigers and black leopard had no comfortable flooring for their small cages. The 8 week old lion cub was being used for photos and passed around to anyone who wanted to touch it. There are too many lions being bred by dealers in the USA just to be used for money making “educational traveling zoos.” Most are destroyed after growing too large. I spoke with the manager of Big Lots where the “zoo” had its tent set up in their parking lot. He said they will not have them back next year. It is up to all of us to stop this cruelty. Please contact the owners of properties where this madness happens and… …ask them to be more humane.”

Animal Cruelty

Jungle Safari exhibits leopards, lions, and other large cats in tiny, hot, barren travel cages for weeks at a time, and constantly breeds tiger and lion cubs in order to sell $15 “photo ops” with little regard for federal laws or animal welfare. When not on the road, the animals are housed in small enclosures on Engesser’s farm in Trenton, Florida.

Jungle Safari has been cited by the USDA for the following violations of the Animal Welfare Act:

USDA License #58-C-0295

It’s impossible to know if there are more recent citations as the USDA is hiding the inspection reports and telling inspectors to “educate” rather than cite violators.

January 5, 2015: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failure to dispose of expired medication. One of the drugs had expired in December 2009. The inspector noted that “[u]sing expired medication for treatment is not an accepted and appropriate method of veterinary care.”

September 7, 2011: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for putting the public and animals at risk by placing a young lion directly onto the laps of children. The inspector noted that in “all cases,” the zoo attendant had no control over the 11-week-old lion cub and that the practice “could easily result in injury.” Adults were also allowed to hold and handle the cub as well as a kangaroo and a capuchin monkey.

July 12, 2011: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for accumulations of dirt in the food storage and  preparation areas, including under and around the freezers, cooler, table, and food containers.

March 18, 2011: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for using a “highly active” 16-week-old tiger cub in public photo sessions. Engesser said that he would be replacing the tiger with another. He was also cited for causing a primate psychological harm by housing a 12-year-old weeper capuchin monkey alone after her mate died. The inspector noted that the monkey had excessive hair loss and observed her biting her tail. There was no environmental enhancement plan—as required for primates—to address her neurotic and abnormal behavior. Engesser refused to sign the report.

February 13, 2010: A 9.5-foot-long python was “stolen” from Jungle Safari after the snake was left caged in a South Fort Myers, Florida, parking lot overnight.

October 26, 2007: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for improper handling of animals. An unvaccinated 6-week-old lion cub was being used for public photo sessions, putting the cub at risk of contracting contagious diseases.

May 25, 2007: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failure to maintain acquisition records for a water buffalo obtained from a person who did not have a USDA license.

July 13, 2006: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for an incomplete program of veterinary care, which omitted vaccination information for two juvenile lion cubs, dosages of chemical restraint drugs for adult tigers and leopards, names and dosages of deworming medication for all animals, and any records of care for a young kangaroo. The inspector also noted that the two lion cubs being used in photo shoots would soon be too large to be safely handled during direct public contact.

January 23, 2004: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failure to have a responsible person available so that an inspection could be performed.

May 29, 2003: A USDA inspector recommended that Jungle Safari implement signage advising visitors to wash their hands after touching the animals and to provide methods for doing so. The inspector wrote, “The farm animals are of particular concern, especially the calf.”

February 27, 2003: A USDA inspector noted that Jungle Safari lacked sufficient environmental enrichment for primates.

March 1, 2002: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for allowing children to come into direct contact with animals without supervision during exhibition. For the third time, the USDA cited the facility for failing to develop and implement an environment enrichment plan for primates. The baboon and a lemur were exhibiting stereotypic behavior.

August 22, 2001: During an inspection, the USDA noted that the baboon’s stereotypic behavior was still not being addressed.

May 24, 2001: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to provide environment enrichment to a baboon housed alone or to the ring-tailed lemurs. The baboon was seen pacing and head-rolling. A lion cub was being fed an inadequate diet of goat milk replacer (“photo prop cubs” are often deliberately malnourished in order to keep them small for as long as possible). Water containers for the camel and llama were covered in algae.

August 17, 2000: Jungle Safari was cited for failing to provide proper veterinary care to a tiger cub suffering from metabolic bone disease due to lack of proper diet and to a leopard with several areas of missing hair.

June 28, 2000: During a complaint- based inspection, the USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to provide adequate food to animals.

November 4, 1999: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to store food to protect against deterioration, mold, or contamination by vermin.

April 30, 1999: Jungle Safari was cited for keeping a tiger cub in a cage in which he was unable to turn about freely and make normal postural adjustments. The exhibit was again cited for failing to maintain proper veterinary records to document that an underweight elephant was receiving proper medical attention.

January 28, 1999: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to provide an inclusive program of veterinary care, including measures to prevent zoonosis. A lion cub transmitted ringworm to other animals and a caretaker. The facility was also cited for failing to keep enclosures and food storage areas in good repair. A dead tiger cub was found in the freezer, having died of an unknown (“probably infectious”) respiratory illness.

July 24, 1998: During a complaint- based inspection, the USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to maintain enclosures adequate to prevent animals from escaping. The exhibitor was also cited for lack of a proper program of veterinary care.

April 24, 1996: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to maintain transport enclosures in good repair.

November 7, 1995: Jungle Safari was cited for improper storage of supplies, for failing to maintain enclosures in good repair, and for a lack of proper water sources for three leopards.

May 20, 1995: In a letter to the owners of Jungle Safari, the attending veterinarian noted observations that the big cats were overweight and stated that a leopard’s tail had to be amputated.

May 15, 1995: Jungle Safari was cited for failing to maintain enclosures in order to prevent injury to animals.

March 2, 1995: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for housing goats, sheep, and llamas in enclosures in which they could not make normal postural adjustments. It was again cited for failing to provide enrichment to a baboon who was constantly pacing and picking at her skin—a sign of zoochosis. There was also no record of veterinary care, and an elephant was observed to be thin.

October 12, 1994: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to store food in order to prevent contamination and to maintain transport containers in good repair.

June 10, 1994: Jungle Safari was cited for failing to store food properly to prevent contamination. The baboon was exhibiting stereotypic behavior indicative of zoochosis.

March 8-11, 1994: During this inspection, the USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to maintain enclosures in good repair and for failing to store bedding to prevent contamination. A male tiger was noted as underweight and suffering from a lame paw. Jungle Safari staff was not able to provide records to account for the whereabouts of all animals. Enclosures and perimeter fencing were noted to be inadequate to safely contain animals. The camel’s water source was found to be filled with algae and silt.

February 11, 1994: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for failing to implement an environment enrichment program for primates, and the lemurs did not have access to a den to which they could retreat from the public. Food was noted to be stored in a manner in which it could become contaminated, and enclosures were noted to be in disrepair.

May 11, 1993: The USDA cited Jungle Safari for housing lemurs, lions, and tigers in transport containers.

August 9, 1990: According to the Rapid City Journal, a leopard attacked and mauled a 5-year-old girl while on display at the Black Hills Motor Classic in South Dakota. Reportedly, the leopard, who was restrained with a small chain fastened to a box, leaped on the girl’s back as she walked past him.

Cub Abuse

Robert Engesser Jungle Safari Zoo Abuse Jungle Safari makes tens of thousands of dollars in profit by selling photos of guests holding a tiger or lion cub. But since USDA recommends that cubs only be handled by the public between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks, Jungle Safari must constantly breed, exploit, and dump cubs in order to continue selling photos. Pictures posted online by Engesser and his employees show a constant stream of injured, inbred, and sick cubs on display at Jungle Safari. Shortly after birth, staff remove baby lions and tigers from their mothers and place them in dog crates, where the tiny cubs rub their noses raw and bloody on the bars in a frantic attempt to escape.

Robert Engesser Jungle Safari Zoo Abuse

On exhibit, the cubs are used as photo props, constantly handled by the public, and placed in the laps of children, even when they are too exhausted to hold their heads up.

Because Jungle Safari uses inbreeding in an attempt to create white tigers, many of the cubs are born with genetic deformities such as crossed eyes. These animals are sometimes kept as “breeders,” resulting in generation after generation of damaged cubs.

Robert Engesser Jungle Safari Zoo AbuseOccasionally, Jungle Safari buys newborn cubs from breeders in other states. In June 2017, a certificate of veterinary inspection issued to the notoriously abusive G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma revealed that Jungle Safari arranged for the interstate transfer of a 4-week-old tiger cub, who was forcibly and prematurely separated from her mother, in apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. USDA policy acknowledges that neonatal cubs (4 weeks of age or younger) are not able to regulate their body temperatures and have an underdeveloped immune system, placing them at risk of disease and infection.

In 2017, Jungle Safari brought this tiny lion cub to a local radio station. Not only should this cub still be with his mother, he appears to be thin with a scruffy coat.

Where do the cubs go?

Once cubs are too large for the public to handle, Jungle Safari sells them and replaces them with new cubs. Nobody knows where the majority of these cubs end up, but it is known that the owners of Jungle Safari have known connections with notoriously abusive private zoos and circus trainers, including Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage, Vincent Von Duke, Kathy Stearns, Brian Staples, Josip Marcan, “doc” Antle, Lynn Culver, and Felicia Frisco.

In January 2005, the owners of Jungle Safari advertised lion cubs for sale in Animal Finders’ Guide, a (now defunct) trade publication for private exotic animal breeders and dealers. Later that year, a Hernando Today article interviewed Pat Engesser at an exotic-animal auction in Florida. Engesser, described as a big cat breeder for 30 years, said that she attended the auction with the hope of selling lion cubs to other breeders. Animals sold at such auctions often end up at canned hunts, in the “pet” trade, or at poorly run roadside zoos.

Jungle Safari is known to have sold cubs to the notorious “Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo“, a roadside menagerie in West Virginia that has shown repeated contempt for federal regulations.

These lion cubs were sold by Jungle Safari to the notoriously abusive DEW Haven, where they were kept in the living room of a house.

Robert Engesser Jungle Safari Zoo Abuse

Around 2015, this lion cub with a severe case of ringworm was sold by Jungle Safari to an undisclosed buyer.

RingwormRobert Engesser Jungle Safari Zoo Abuse

A History of Abuse

The company that would become Jungle Safari was founded in 1968 by Roxy (Luce) Engesser, a circus trainer who decided to make a living breeding exotic cats for zoos and traveling the country to sell photos with the cubs. By 1984, “Engesser’s Exotic Felines” had a whopping 286 breeding big cats on lease to other private exhibitors nationwide, according to an Ocala Star-Banner report about Engesser’s plans to build a “retirement home” for her animals in a residential Levy County subdivision. In the article, Mrs. Engesser made the dangerous (and false) claim that “these aren’t wild cats, they’ve been hand raised. After about 10 generations in captivity, these animals even lose the instinct to kill their prey.” When Roxy passed away, the family big cat business was left in the hands of her son, Robert, and his wife, Pat.

Two Cats Who Were Abused and Abandoned by Roxy Engesser

Snorkle Tiger

Snorkle Tiger

Snorkel Tiger was bred in 1996 by Roxy Engesser, the same abuser who bred Nakoma the lion. She breeds lions and tigers and uses them to make money by selling you a photo of you holding a cute little cub. Typically these cubs are starved, deprived of bone building calcium and even poisoned to give them constant diarrhea so that they cannot gain weight. They do this because the cubs are only profitable while they are small. Once they reach 45 pounds they cannot be touched by the public, according to FL state law, and then they are discarded.

Snorkel was given to a small family operated circus when he exceeded 45 pounds at the age of 6 months but because he had been so deprived of nutrition he was very tiny and stands on little stunted legs. The other bigger circus tigers beat him up and one bit him across the nose so severely that when he chuffs it sounds like he is drowning, thus his name. He has never had soft grass to roll in nor a pool or mountain cave to call his own before going to Big Cat Rescue.

Nakoma Lion was used as a photo prop by the owners of Jungle Safari. He was purposely starved, deprived of vitamins and calcium, and kept in a small concrete space. Hardly conditions fit for a king.

Nakoma Lion

Nakoma Lion

That’s when Big Cat Rescue stepped in and purchased young Nakoma at a livestock auction. Imagine that, the “king of beasts” being auctioned off. Nakoma was so crippled in the hind legs and so malnourished that no one wanted him and he was sold for only $200.  (Big Cat Rescue stopped paying to rescue animals in the ’90s)

Only a year earlier this little lion cub was being pimped out as a photo prop. His owner (Engesser) made money by selling people the opportunity to have their photograph taken with the cute and cuddly lion cub. In the state of Florida, however, it is against the law to allow contact with a big cat over 45 pounds. So Engesser purposely starved him and deprived him of vitamins to keep him under the weight limit. As a result of this deficiency, Nakoma developed paralysis in his hind legs. Crippled, unwanted and abused, he was found with gaping gashes in his body that had become infested with maggots. Yet despite all this, he was still a very lovable, talkative cub.

Big Cat Rescue took Nakoma into their care. But after a year and a half of proper nutrition and supplements, he was still having an increasingly hard time moving his back legs. It took him two hours just to walk across his pen by dragging himself with his front paws. X-rays, a spinal tap and MRI all came out negative, meaning that Nakoma’s paralysis had most likely been caused by the thiamine deficiency he endured.

On July 12, 1998, during his MRI, Nakoma tragically stopped breathing and died. His quiet passing may have been a blessing in disguise since nothing could be done for his crippled body. In fact, the vets said his condition would have continued to deteriorate until he could not move at all.

Today, Nakoma rests in a grave on the site, adorned with his proud picture. This brave little king will never be forgotten and everybody can take solace in that Big Cat Rescue was at least able to make his last years a little better.

News Coverage

Roadside zoo sparks protests, second thoughts

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 3:24 AM

RobertEngesserJungleSafariZooAbuse7

I saw the tent being pitched and anxiously waited to see the wonderful animals that would soon be on display in South Venice.

Traveling zoos remind me of being a youngster and visiting the zoo with my parents and siblings. It was a day trip that we always looked forward to as children. Later, when I had my own children, I made sure we took similar trips at least once a year to see the animals and give my kids the same experience.

So when the Jungle Safari pulled into town, I was ready to relive the fond memories I had of those days. What I saw instead on repeated visits saddened me.

Maybe I was seeing with different eyes, but the wonderment of it all was gone.

A realization hit me that a traveling zoo is not the same as a zoo at all.

I saw large animals that were unable to run, raise their heads up and in one case, unable to turn around at all in their cages.

Some were standing in their own feces because they had nowhere else to go.

I saw a tiger cub repeatedly return to an empty water dish while several other cages had no water dish at all.

When David Hadley, 44, saw the roadside traveling zoo at the Venice Village Shoppes at U.S. 41 and Jacaranda Boulevard, he traded in his beach and house-hunting time for some protest time.

Creating a makeshift sign out of foam board, the Army veteran stood at the roadside garnering support from fellow animal lovers.

Among the honks of approval, however, were shouts of profanity and displays of obscene gestures. Hadley, a former airborne combat medic in the Army, stood firm.

“I have a right to protest, it’s a freedom of speech and I earned that right,” said Hadley, who suffers from a painful hip. With his walking cane and Luna, his rescued border collie mix, Hadley remained undaunted.

The Jungle Safari traveling zoo is owned and operated by Robert Engesser.

“It was my parents’ zoo, and now it is mine,” said Engesser, referring to the original owners as the Luce family.

Soon Hadley was joined by Englewood sisters Nicole Miers, 17, and Tiffany Miers-Pandolfi, 21.

Later, Venice MCC student Monica Moore, 18, joined the group with her own homemade sign.

“I’m a big animal lover and I don’t like to see animals trapped unfairly. They deserve a chance to be in their own habitat and have a happy life,” Moore said.

A state wildlife inspector visited the setup in South Venice and found no violations.

For nearly 11 months out of the year, the animals travel from parking lot to parking lot throughout the South.

A typical day requires them to stand from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in small cages directly on pavement.

Engesser acknowledged that the protesters had a right to share their feelings but defended the zoo’s ability to expose kids to exotic creatures.

“I believe that the protesters are entitled to their opinion. But it’s a chance for kids to see animals they wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s a family thing. The protesters just don’t like to see animals in cages and they don’t like to see them spend their lives like that,” Engesser said.

Well, maybe.

But not so for North Port protester Holly Carver, who also joined the group objecting to the roadside menagerie.

“I do support zoos, but this is a whole different thing. I don’t believe it’s right for animals to be traveling in small environments. They can’t move around. It’s not much of a life for them,” Carver said sadly.

In his defense, Engesser added, “We are taking and raising these animals from babies, and they are used to captivity. They are used to it and comfortable with it. It’s not like we are taking them from the wild and putting them in captivity. They don’t have that stress factor.”

Maybe not, except for one small cub who had a noticeable mark on his forehead. A caretaker said the cub had been banging its head against its cage again and again.

“I’m here as a moral decision to stop the cruelty that the animals are subjected to. In 2007, it’s just unacceptable in our society,” said Hadley.

Pony ride worker accused of inappropriately touching children

By Tom Smith

Senior Staff Writer, Florence Times-Daily

Apr 30, 2016

Daryl V Raymond Jr., of Stockholm, MaineFLORENCE — A man working at a traveling petting zoo with the pony ride has been arrested and charged after police said he inappropriately was touching little girls who were riding the animals.

Police Sgt. Brad Holmes said Daryl V Raymond Jr., 48, of Stockholm, Maine, has been charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12.

Holmes said police were notified of the allegations Friday while detectives were investigating a homicide.

Reports indicate while the sexual abuse case was under investigation, a second victim came forward.

Police said Raymond was taken into custody Saturday morning at the petting zoo, which had set up operations in the Big Lots Shopping Center on Darby Drive.

Authorities said Raymond was picked up without incident, interviewed, then arrested and charged.

Police Detective Keith Johnson said Raymond was an employee of Jungle Safari, which is based in Chiefland, Florida.

He said after the investigation and arrest of Raymond, the owner of the petting zoo was closing his operation and leaving the area.

According to reports, since Raymond’s arrest, three more reports of similar incidents have been made to police.

Police said two of the incidents are supposed to have happened Thursday and three Friday. The victims are all young girls between the ages of 3 and 5.

Investigators said Raymond was working the pony ride and, according to allegations, he would have his left hand on the pole that guided the pony and his right hand on the saddle horn where the victims were sitting. During the ride, while he was walking with the pony, he would inappropriately touch the girls, police said.

Johnson said the first incident was reported Friday after a young girl told her family what happened and the police were notified.

Authorities said after reporting the incident, a family member put a post on social media about what had happened, and other incidents started being reported.

Raymond has denied the allegations.

More charges are pending as the case continues.

Sexual abuse of a child under 12 is a Class B felony, which is punishable by 2-20 years in prison.

Raymond is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on bond of $100,000.

Petting zoo employee now has 5 child sex abuse charges in Alabama

Posted May 2, 2016

By Jonathan Grass, AL.com

A man already accused of sexually abusing two children who visited the traveling petting zoo where he works now faces additional charges.

Daryl V. Raymond Jr., 48, of Stockholm, Maine was arrested in Florence on Saturday.

He worked for Jungle Safari, a Florida-based petting zoo that travels to malls, fairs and festivals across the country, according to its website.

He was originally charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. Police say two children who visited the petting zoo came forward with accusations.

On Monday, Raymond was charged with three additional counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. He is in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on bonds totaling $250,000.

Five victims have come forward so far, and additional charges are pending, Sgt. Brad Holmes said.

Jungle Safari’s owner told Florence police that he planned to move the petting zoo to another city ahead of schedule. Holmes said the owner has cooperated fully throughout the investigation, which is ongoing.

Traveling zoos, carnivals only need business license

By Jennifer Edwards, Florence Times-Daily

May 3, 2016

FLORENCE — A simple business license is the only permission a traveling show needs in three of the four Shoals cities, but Florence officials are reviewing their process in the wake of a child sexual abuse case.

Obtaining a business license is the only requirement Jungle Safari had to meet before setting up a free petting zoo in a Darby Drive parking lot. An employee of that outfit, Daryl V. Raymond Jr., was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12.

Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler wants to take another look at the business license requirement.

“When I talked to (Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock) Saturday to inform him about what was going on, he said then that, at the first opportunity, to get with the city attorney and look at making changes to the ordinance that governs those businesses,” Tyler said Monday.

“We want to look at the cost of temporary business licenses — businesses that are not going to make a permanent home here.”

Tyler said city officials would not prohibit temporary business license issuance to companies that come into Florence to do fundraisers for Shoals-based agencies or groups. He said scrutiny would be especially close on businesses such as the petting zoo traveling show.

“These companies are coming in with employees who may or may not have had background checks,” he said. “That is up to the employer.”

Raymond, 48, of Stockholm, Maine, is accused of inappropriately touching young girls while he was operating the pony ride at Jungle Safari. Chief Assistant District Attorney Will Powell said at Raymond’s initial court appearance Monday more charges are likely after three additional complaints were made. Raymond has been detained without bond in the Lauderdale County Detention Center pending a bond hearing scheduled for Friday.

“As a result to what happened Saturday, we are going to do some research into other cities as to how they handle temporary business licenses and see what we can do to strengthen some of the protection for our citizens,” Tyler said. “You just can’t have unknown people coming in with unknown backgrounds.”

Florence spokesman Phil Stevenson said if a vendor does not require a utility connection, the only permit necessary is a business license. The city’s simple business license is $75. Vendors selling wares pay a business license fee in proportion to anticipated sales.

Tyler said there is a reason authorities acted quickly Saturday when the allegations surfaced.

“We knew the petting zoo was not going to be here long and once he was gone, he would be gone,” Tyler said. “Hopefully this will never happen again. We’re trying to make sure it never does.”

Jungle Safari closed and left Florence on Saturday.

The latest United States Department of Agriculture inspection report shows Zoo/Jungle Safari is based in Chiefland, Florida, and is operated by Robert Engesser. A USDA inspection, performed March 17, 2016, when the traveling show was set up in Graceville, Florida, shows Jungle Safari had exotic animals including tigers, a camel, a kangaroo and several primates, goats, llamas and a cow or ox.

Obtaining a license for traveling vendors is fairly routine. In Florence, if a utility connection is required to operate lights, signs or rides, the city inspects the connection to ensure the work was done properly and safely, Stevenson said.

Tuscumbia requires a business license and requires fire-rated tents be used, according to city Building Official Luster Echols.

Sheffield requires a $100 flat fee for its privilege license, which is good for 10 days. In the case of a carnival, if there are peripheral vendors not associated with the carnival itself, each one would pay $10 a day to the city. The $100 flat fee is waived if it’s a nonprofit. Sheffield issues one privilege license every 120 days for the same vendor.

Muscle Shoals is the strictest among the four Shoals cities and imposes regulations on temporary vendors that go beyond a simple business license. Revenue Clerk Rebecca Barnett said a business license is required for anyone setting up in Muscle Shoals, but to obtain one the vendor must rent a suite or storefront at the location, have utility service turned on using the name of the operator, and have functioning restrooms.

Barnett said carnivals previously have set up in shopping center parking lots, but could not recall one recently.

Tyler said he is meeting with the Florence city attorney this week to discuss the ordinance governing temporary businesses.

“We can’t tolerate, never again, someone endangering our children,” he said.

Lawsuit filed in Lauderdale County against petting zoo & employee accused of sexual assault

Posted 2:52 pm, December 5, 2016, by Carter Watkins, WHNT19 News

FLORENCE, Ala. – A civil lawsuit has been filed against the owners of a petting zoo, who employed a man accused of inappropriately touching several small children. The lawsuit has been filed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.

The 10-page complaint was filed on behalf of three sets of parents, whose children were allegedly touched by Daryl Raymond while he was working for Jungle Safari.

The complaint names Engesser’s Exotics, the parent company of Jungle Safari, the Florence Plaza, and Daryl Raymond as defendants.

The Florence Plaza is named as a defendant because according to the suit, they used the petting zoo as a promotion to get more shoppers to visit.

The plaintiffs state Jungle Safari and Florence Plaza should have known Raymond’s history and practice of assault, and in particular, sexual assault of minor children.

The suit claims Raymond touched three children on the dates of April 28th and 29th.

According to Florence Police, Raymond was working on a pony ride at Jungle Safari at that time.

In August, a Lauderdale County grand jury indicted Raymond on six counts of unlawful sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

The lawsuit goes on to say, Jungle Safari continued to allow Raymond to operate the pony ride after a complaint was brought to their attention on the 28th. The suit said two more victims were sexually assaulted on April 29th.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

According to Florence Police, there were a total of six victims Raymond is accused of touching.

Raymond is set to stand trial on criminal charges next spring.  Dates for the civil suit to be heard have not been set. Raymond remains in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on bail totaling $300,000.

Traveling exhibit of exotic animals stops in Bryan

By Brooke West, The Bryan Eagle

Dec 1, 2012

RobertEngesserJungleSafariZooAbuse9

It’s a zoo in Bryan this week.

Jungle Safari, a free exotic animal exhibit, set up in the 3700 block of Texas Avenue on Wednesday and will stay until Sunday at 5 p.m.

Mathilda, a four-year-old kangaroo, shoved her nose through a wire square, giving passersby a curious sniff. Empress the three-year-old Bengal tiger — all 425 pounds of her — slept soundly in her cage. A tiny but busy Zeus, a 9-week-old Bengal tiger cub, circled behind a fence, purring and nuzzling against the warm hands of caretakers who reached in to pet his fuzzy head.

The owner and manager of Jungle Safari, Robert Engesser, said he’s glad to be in Bryan for the first time.

“This enables us to share these guys with the public,” Engesser said, gesturing toward the monkeys, lemurs, goats, ponies, and the camel on display.

Engesser said the traveling zoo provides a chance for people in areas that don’t have permanent exhibits to see, learn and interact with the animals.

Engesser has been showing his variety of animals across the United States for 31 years, he said. He and his crew of handlers and caretakers are on the road for nine and a half months out of the year. The other two and a half months are spent on his land in Chiefland, Fla.

Admission to the exhibit — equipped with eight goats, one cow, two llamas, one camel, three ponies, one spotted mule, two monkeys, two lemurs, and two tigers — is free. There is a cost, however, to ride the camel or ponies, feed the animals or take pictures with them. There is also a white tiger and black leopard on display for a $1 charge.

Engesser said the free admission is “doing it the old-fashioned way.” He said the profits made through pictures, feeding and rides pays all of the employees and allows them to keep the exhibit on the move.

Dealing with large exotic animals safely, Engesser said, is a matter of their weight.

“You have to know what you are doing,” he said. “Size dictates how they should be handled. We want to protect the public from the animal and the animal from the public. These are still wild animals.”

The full-grown Bengal tiger was raised in captivity, Engesser said, and has grown up “socialized.”

“Anytime an animal is on display and confined, there is not a stress factor,” Engesser said. “Inevitably you will have the extreme view. There are a number of ways to be raised healthily in captivity.”

Engesser said his grandparents and parents were operating the traveling zoo before him.

Growing up, he hated it, he said. So he decided to be a mechanic instead.

“I wanted to get away from it so bad,” Engesser laughed. “Then I found out that’s work, too. I figured I might as well come back to what I love if I was gonna have to work anyway.”

In order to operate such a business, Jungle Safari must have an exhibitor license through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Engesser also had to acquire a special event permit from the city of Bryan.

Dave Sacks, spokeswoman for the USDA, said the goal of licenses is to enforce the Animal Wellness Act.

“The act is a federal set of care standards that must be met for facilities with certain types of animals,” Sacks said. “We put them on unannounced inspections to see how they are treating their animals.”

Sacks said that anything not in compliance with general USDA guidelines is cited, and the operator is given a timeframe in which to correct the problem.

“It can be anything from a hole in the hippo’s cage, to a giraffe with a broken leg,” Sacks said. “It can really run the gamut.”

Regulations set by the organization are not specific, Sacks said. For instance, cage size standards are not determined for each animal, but should be large enough for the animal to move about freely.

“The bottom line is ensuring the welfare of these animals,” Sacks said. “The responsibility falls to them. These folks do what they need to do, and we do what we need to do to ensure the animals are healthy.”

Sacks said Jungle Safari’s last 11 inspections were “pretty clean.”

According to the USDA, the zoo was issued a warning letter on March 8, 1994, and a civil penalty of $250 on May 24, 1999.

Sacks could not detail the nature of the penalties because the cases are outdated.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has several citations to Jungle Safari listed on their website, but Sacks did not confirm that they are consistent with USDA records.

According to PETA, the March 8, 1994 infraction was for failure to maintain enclosures and failure to store bedding to prevent contamination.

There was not an entry in PETA’s records for the May 24, 1999 civil penalty.

Engesser said he thinks Jungle Safari has a “decent record” in all its 31 years.

He said there was an infraction in the past for improper food care for the animals, but the organization was in the process of building a new food housing system at the time.

“[The USDA] wants to oversee the animals’ health and welfare, Engesser said. “I think we’ve done a good job of that.”

When the animals aren’t on the road, he said, they have open spaces to roam back home in Florida.

He said he has a close relationship with two vets he consults with often to ensure the health of the animals.

A pair of sisters, 11-year-old Caitlyn and 8-year-old Ashlyn Seal, lit up as they stopped to gaze at each animal.

“It’s pretty cool,” Caitlyn said. “When we went to feed the goats we put the money in [the machine] and they all came right to it!”

Ashlyn said her favorite part was riding the 2,000 pound camel.

Their mom, Julie Seal, said she wanted to bring her daughters after hearing about the exhibit on the radio. She was especially excited about them getting to ride the camel.

“I remember riding one at a circus when I was little, so I wanted them to do it,” Julie said. “I do feel bad that the animals are kind of in cages but they’re so cute. It’s hard not to want to look at them.”

Engesser said there will be a public feeding Saturday at 7:30 p.m., where anyone is welcome to watch the exotic animals be fed. There will also be a lecture about the animals, he said.

2011 Fox News Charlotte Report on USDA Violations

MONROE, N.C. – From the tame and the typical to totally wild. The traveling petting zoo called Jungle Safari has a little bit of everything, all in the parking lot of Monroe Crossing mall. A mom of two boys says, “I think it’s cool, we were just driving by and like, free admission, why not?” And 11-year-old Zack Weilage says, “Animals are amazing!”

There are tigers, there are camels, there are lemurs and there is a USDA inspection report from March. It levels two concerns, first: a 16-week-old “highly active” tiger cub used for pictures with the public. “‘Too rambunctious’ is actually what she (the inspector) said,” says the zoo owner Robert Engesser.

The inspector noted her concern that the cub couldn’t be controlled in a way that would keep him and the public safe. Engesser replaced the cub with a nine and a half week old lion.

The other issue: a capuchin monkey. The report lists hair loss and tail biting; signs of psychological distress. The zoo had not documented the steps it was taking to address the monkey’s neurotic behavior, often caused by a lack of interaction. The report says her mate died two months ago. Engesser says, “There’s quite a bit of interaction.”

Engesser has owned the traveling zoo for about 13 years. He appealed the March inspection, was denied, and says he will appeal again. He says, “I don’t feel in that situation they were correct, but they’re entitled to their opinion just like I am mine.”

Engesser says he has 30 big cats at his permanent facility in Florida. He rotates which ones are on tour. The two-year -old female tiger currently with him will stay inside her cage for four weeks before returning to Florida.

“It seems fun and it seems great for the kids, but in reality, it’s not, especially not for the poor animals in there,” says Monroe resident Felicia Kiker. She didn’t like what she saw at the petting zoo. “The animals are all in little cages, animals which are supposed to be in the wild,” says Kiker.

Engesser expects between five and six thousand visitors through the weekend. He insists all of the animals are well taken care of and that public safety is his priority. He says, “If we feel it’s a danger to the animal as well as the public, we’re not gonna use it.”

The USDA has inspected the zoo eight times in the last three years. The March report is the only one with citations. Mall management wasn’t aware of the March inspection until FOX Charlotte brought it to their attention. They tell us, “Jungle Safari approached us about operating at Monroe Crossing and we offered them the space free of charge because we knew it would be a great attraction for the community.”

Note: Thankfully the belief that such abuse is good for business is an outdated opinion.

 

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Posted on Dec 29, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Stephanie Taunton Hesperia Zoo

Stephanie Taunton Hesperia Zoo

Stephanie Taunton Hesperia Zoo

Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-white-tigerDecember 2017.  Hesperia Zoo has repeatedly and continually shown contempt for the law, animal welfare, and public safety, to the point that the federal government seems to be trying to shut them down.

Like many facilities that exploit wild cats, Stephanie Taunton’s Hesperia Zoo has changed its name, which is why it can be difficult to find information about them. Before 2007, they were called the Cinema Safari Zoo, and Taunton still rents out its exotic animals for movies and photo shoots under the name “Bow Wow Productions” or “All Animal Productions.”

In 2006, a 500-lb. tiger escaped from its enclosure at the Hesperia Zoo when employees failed to lock the cage during cleaning. Because the zoo did not have the proper equipment on hand to tranquilize a tiger, the animal was on the loose for hours, during which time he attacked a donkey. The zoo’s owners repeatedly refused to comment on the incident, stating that the zoo is “private property and the media is not welcome.”

In 2008, the zoo was fined $30,000 by the federal government for “willful violations” of the Animal Welfare Act and was temporarily disqualified from obtaining a USDA license. Note that this is almost unheard of, and only happens to the absolute worst of the worst facilities. The USDA docket for this ordered Taunton to immediately cease and desist from the following violations (among others):

  • operating as an exhibitor without a valid license from the Secretary of Agriculture;
  • failing to make animals, facilities, and records available to USDA officials for inspection;
  • failing, during public exhibition, to handle animals with sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animals and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of the animals and the public;
  • failing to provide dogs with minimally-adequate floor space or shelter from the elements;
  • failing to construct housing facilities so that they are structurally sound, protect the animals from injury, and contain the animals;
  • failing to provide animals with shelter; and
  • failing to remove feces from enclosures.

Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-tiger-0In 2014, Taunton was served with a lengthy formal complaint by the USDA for deliberately ignoring the cease and desist order, continuing to block inspectors from viewing the facility, continuing to house animals in dangerous or filthy enclosures, and failing to provide animals with veterinary care. In this document, the USDA threatens to permanently revoke Taunton’s exhibitors license, stating that “the gravity of the violations herein is great, and includes repeated noncompliance with the access, records, and identification Regulations, and failure to meet the minimum standards for veterinary care, housing, and husbandry. Respondent has not shown good faith.”

According to yet another docket, Taunton has ignored this complaint and as of last year is still trying to fight the USDA in court. Refusing to keep records of animals is a huge red flag for animal trafficking.

It’s also worth noting that Taunton’s legal troubles aren’t just with government inspectors — in 2011, she was served with a restraining order after making a “credible threat of violence” against Kele Young, the owner of another questionable private big cat zoo in Palm Springs. According to court documents,

“Young and Taunton were present at a hearing on September 2, 2011. Young stated Taunton called her and said, “Well, you fucked with the wrong people. You pissed off the wrong people.’ . . . `You think you’ve never had any problems out at your facility? Well, you wait and see what’s going to happen to you now, and you fucking wait and see what’s going to happen to all those fucking animals.” Taunton said she called Young and asked her why she was distributing the USDA’s inspection reports [on the Hesperia Zoo] to newspapers and colleagues. The trial court, Judge Steve Malone, concluded there was a credible threat of violence and issued a temporary order prohibiting Taunton from harassing, contacting, or coming within 100 yards of Young, her home, place of employment, vehicle, and the wildlife preserve.

On September 22, 2011, Commissioner Robert Fowler dismissed the matter without prejudice concluding Taunton had not been served. That same day, Young re-filed a request for an order to stop harassment. In her request, Young stated that on August 31, 2011, and September 20, 2011, Taunton and her associates made credible threats of violence via telephone and text message against her and the animals at her wildlife preserve. She also stated rattlesnakes had been set free on her property.” 

Sounds like someone who really cares about animals, right? Needless to say, stay far away from this place. I know it’s tempting to want to interact with big cats, but it’s my belief that if you wouldn’t pay to abuse or kill a tiger, don’t pay to interact with one at a private facility like this — because that’s exactly what you’re supporting.

Below are some photos taken by tourists at Hesperia Zoo:

Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-bear Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-lion Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-tiger-2 Hesperia-Zoo-abuse-tiger

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Posted on Dec 27, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Dade City Wild Things – Kathy Stearns

Dade City Wild Things – Kathy Stearns

The Daily Beast does a great recap of the situation at https://www.thedailybeast.com/gun-toting-zoo-owners-in-showdown-with-peta-and-the-feds-over-baby-tigers

Florida Sues Dade City Wild Things

Oct 5, 2017  Today, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced it has filed suit against Dade City’s Wild Things, a zoo in Dade City, and three of its corporate officers. The department seeks to shut down fundraising efforts by Dade City’s Wild Things based on the department’s investigation involving illicit fundraising and financial issues.

Based on the department’s investigation, Stearns Zoological Rescue and Rehab Center Inc. and Dade City’s Wild Things Inc. solicited contributions, purportedly for the purpose of caring for animals at the zoo and for broader, in-field conservation efforts. However, nonprofit funds were routinely transferred to the for-profit entity, Stearns Peat C Inc. A financial analysis of one year showed over $200,000 of nonprofit funds were transferred to the for-profit entity. Randall Stearns, Kathryn Stearns and Kenneth Stearns are corporate officers and/or directors of the listed entities and acted in concert to solicit contributions.

Based on the department’s investigation, the defendants allegedly violated Chapter 496, Florida Statutes, by:

  • Transferring large amounts of nonprofit funds to a for-profit entity to be used for for-profit and personal expenses;
  • Compensating corporate officers and directors after disclosing that such persons were uncompensated in their official filings with the department;
  • Soliciting contributions without being registered with the department (even after receiving a cease and desist order);
  • Falsely stating that contributions were tax deductible when their 501(c) status had been revoked years before;
  • Failing to apply contributions in a manner consistent with that indicated in solicitations;
  • Failing to provide documents requested by the department; submitting false information in response to an investigation; and
  • Allowing a disqualified individual to be involved in solicitation efforts and to handle contributions.

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/News-Events/Press-Releases/2017-Press-Releases/Florida-Department-of-Agriculture-and-Consumer-Services-Sues-Dade-City-s-Wild-Things

 

PeTA Sues Dade City Wild Things

Despite direct court order forbidding Kathy Stearns from disposing of the 22 tigers, she apparently sends them to GW Zoo in Oklahoma on either the evening of July 14 or sometime on July 15, 2017. See the court order.  Joe Schreibvogel admits during his Facebook LIVE broadcast that the 19 tigers who arrived on July 16, 2017 were from Kathy Stearns.  He later took the video off Facebook.

(CN) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has set its sights on a private Florida zoo that allows visitors personal interaction with cute and cuddly tiger cubs.

In a federal lawsuit filed in Tampa, PETA claims Dade City’s Wild Things and its owners are violating the Endangered Species Act.

The complaint, peppered with eyewitness accounts and references to previous federal violations, takes aim at the zoo’s programs that allow patrons to handle, pet and swim with tiger cubs.   Read PeTA vs Dade City Wild Things

Dade City’s Wild Things holds more than 200 animals, including primates and reptiles, on 22 acres of land in Pasco County, Florida.

Among its draws are opportunities for up-close interactions with tiger cubs, baby alligators and monkeys, including a chance to swim with them.

Under Florida law, patrons can only have contact with tigers under 25 pounds.

The zoo’s owners — Kathryn Stearns and her son, Randall Stearns — are also named as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, Dade City’s Wild Things staff forced cubs to interact with patrons by forcibly grabbing the animals and not allowing them to escape.

PETA also claims the cubs are prematurely separated from their mothers and suffer under bad conditions.

“The Endangered Species Act prohibits harming and harassing tigers,” said Brittany Peet, PETA’s director of captive animal law enforcement. “They are putting profit over the animals’ lives.”

By separating the cubs from mothers — as early as three weeks, according to the complaint — the zoo is setting the tigers up for a “lifetime of cruelty,” Peet said.

Once the cubs are too large to play with, she added, they are relegated to tiny enclosures or sold to other “roadside attractions.”

“As a result there are untold thousands — some put the number at 10,000 — of grown tigers in the U.S. completely unregulated,” Peet said. “Meanwhile, tigers are endangered in the wild.”

Since 2010, the U.S. Agriculture Department has issued several official warnings to the zoo for alleged violations ranging from inadequate shelter and veterinary care to mishandling of the tigers.

In these warnings federal regulators detailed several instances of alleged mistreatment of the tiger cubs, including the painting of their fur. On one occasion, Stearns pulled a tiger’s tail and held him up by his neck, the department said.

After learning of this last incident, the Agriculture Department filed an administrative complaint against the zoo under the Animal Welfare Act, the complaint says.

“Despite having received multiple inspection reports identifying noncompliance with the regulations and failures to comply with the standards, and the receipt of an official warning, respondent has continued to mishandle animals, particularly infant and juvenile tigers, exposing these animals and the public to injury, disease, and harm,” the government says.

That litigation (see below) is still pending.

In addition to the extensive regulatory record, PETA also cites eyewitness accounts, including one from a former employee, of alleged abuse at the attraction.

End the abuse by ending private ownership of big cats at BigCatAct.com

End the abuse by ending private ownership of big cats at BigCatAct.com

“Over many months, witnesses observed Dade City’s Wild Things staff repeatedly holding onto and pulling the tiger cubs by the cubs’ tails; grabbing the cubs by the skin on the back of their necks; pulling them by the front feet; pinching their ears and nose; and even slamming their bodies to the ground,” the complaint says.

PETA seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

By ALEX PICKETT Read more at  http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/10/14/peta-says-florida-zoo-abuses-baby-tigers.htm

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -A Pasco County man who helps run a popular zoo is facing sexual misconduct charges involving children.  Randy Stearns calls himself “The Tiger Man.”  He is listed on the web as President and Head Trainer for Dade City’s Wild Things.  But now the Tampa native is facing disturbing charges in St. Charles County, Missouri.  According to a grand jury indictment, Stearns exposed himself to three girls under the age of 15 on June 25th, 2016.

The indictment filed in September lists eight counts of sexual misconduct alleged to have happened at the Embassy Suites hotel where Stearns was staying for a convention.  It says Stearns exposed himself as the girls got off the elevator and headed towards their room.  According to investigators, the victims went back in the hallway 10 minutes later and Stearns was still there with his penis exposed through the zipper of his jeans.

The victims say he tired to get closer to them and kept talking to them.  During the investigation, it was reported Stearns exposed himself in his room to someone only identified by initials. This incident allegedly happened earlier in the evening. Stearns has been in the public eye in recent years as Dade City Wild Things made headlines for its close encounter attraction with baby tigers.  That includes the controversial practice of swimming with them.

The US Department of Agriculture eventually fined Wild Things for its treatment of the tigers and and ordered them to stop letting people swim with them.  Stearns attorney said his client denies the allegations and will fight them in court.  More at http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-pasco/wild-things-head-trainer-charged-with-exposing-himself-to-girl

USDA Sues Dade City Wild Things

The complaint, linked below states:

DCWTSwimmingCubUkIndependent-tigerswimThe gravity of the violations alleged in this complaint is great, involving multiple failures to handle animals carefully and to provide access for inspection.

February 23, 2012  The Official Warning stated: “After providing you with an opportunity for a hearing, we may impose civil penalties of up to $10,000, or other sanctions, for each violation described in this Official Warning. Although we generally pursue penalties for this type of violation(s ), we have decided not to pursue penalties in this instance so long as you comply, in the future, with laws that APHIS enforces.”

5. Respondent has not shown good faith. Despite having received multiple inspection reports identifying noncompliance with the Regulations and failures to comply with the Standards, and the receipt of an Official Warning, respondent has continued to mishandle animals, particularly infant and juvenile tigers, exposing these animals and the public to injury, disease, and harm.

2015-07-17_USDA AWA Complaint_Stearns Zoological_AWA Docket

2015 August citations against Dade City’s Wild Things for filthy conditions, inadequate shelter, poor vet care, dangerous caging and more.

If you have first hand knowledge of abuse at Dade City Wild Things please contact:

COLLEEN A. CARROLL Attorney for Complainant Office of the General Counsel United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W. Room 2343 South Building Washington, D.C. 20250-1400 Telephone (202) 720-6430 Fax (202) 690-4299 colleen.carroll@ogc.usda.gov

The vet for Dade City’s Wild Things, who defended her at trial, is Dr. Don Woodman of Safety Harbor.

News Reports Based on USDA’s Lawsuit Against Kathy Stearns’ Dade City Wild Things

Cast your vote!

Tampa Bay Times

Creative Loafing

My Fox Tampa Bay

ABC Action News

The Mirror

WFLA Channel 8 News

TBO.com

UK Independent

Terrific article with lots of photos of what we think to be cub abuse and eye witness reports at https://www.thedodo.com/dade-city-wild-things-tigers-2074576624.html

Where do those cute cubs end up?

 

Kathy Stearns got international attention for her pay to play scheme whereby tiger cubs are pushed into water over their heads so that they will swim to the paying customer and cling for dear life.  The only good to come of this is that it also drew international attention to the fact that USDA and the Florida Wildlife Commission have allowed this kind of cruel treatment.  The outcry has been loud and fierce, and maybe now the government will do their jobs of enforcing animal welfare laws.

 

The most obvious problem with this activity is that exploiters have to have a constant supply of cubs that are small enough to use for petting, photo and swim with the tigers type commerce.  So where do the cubs end up when they get too big to use?

 

Here is the story that the news should be researching:  During an inspection in May 2012, the USDA counted 12 tigers. Four months later, in September 2012, the USDA counted 19 tigers. The cubs who were being used in the Good Morning America piece that aired 10/9/12 were Tony, the youngest tiger who was screaming for help during the interview, and Tarzan who was far too big to be used for this sort of activity, but on a leash, in the pool, none the less.

 

In late 2011 the cubs being used for pay to play and swim with the tigers were name Rauri and Rajha.  On Oct 4, 2010 the 20 lb white tiger cub was named Diamond.  Wondering where they are now?  Probably in these barren, muddy cages at Dade City’s Wild Things:

 

 

You can help put a stop to this with a quick and easy letter to lawmakers here:  http://www.CatLaws.com

 

What Animal Lovers Think About Dade City’s Wild Things

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9.08.14 AM

Clearly, the public is opposed to this sort of cruel activity.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/815/305/050/ban-activity-allowing-visitors-to-swim-with-baby-animals/

This unsolicited letter reported conditions that we think are deplorable.  What is most concerning is that USDA has been copied and has yet to do anything about it.

“Last month (June 2015)  I went on a one-day group bus trip to WILD THINGS in Dade City, FL.  We took their “Jungle Safari Ride” and what we saw was enough to make us sick!  The place was nothing like your facility.

There was cage after cage of big cats, mostly Bengal tigers, kept in pathetic condition.  A large Siberian tiger was kept in a cage with no shelter from the searing Florida sun or the torrential afternoon thunderstorms and recent flooding with not even a wooden deck   He was laying in mud!

A surplus of other tigers were in cages on cement slabs with a barrel type shelter that could only hold one animal at a time.  In a cage by itself, a young tiger had access to an in-ground kiddie pool filled with cloudy, green water.

In another area were ponies and a donkey.  Although there was shade, all of these animal’s ribs were visible. Driving on, we saw a rectangular cage housing 4 coyotes.  The cage was set up in the sun on a cement slab.  The cage was divided by a closed fence.  2/3 of the area was occupied by 2 coyotes with no shelter and the other 1/3 was occupied by 2 coyotes and two “dog houses” taking up most of the area.  These poor creatures were forced to run back and forth in their own urine and feces. The odor was horrific and they all seemed to be frantic.

NONE OF THE ANIMALS ABOVE HAD WATER IN THEIR CAGES!!!

As we moved along we saw two different species of foxes displayed in a cage on the back of a pickup truck.  There was also no water and shelter for only one fox. The trolley then passed a large, fenced area and we were told that it was a sinkhole.  The water in this sinkhole was stagnant with green stuff all over the top and probably breeding millions of mosquitos.  Around the narrow edge of this sinkhole, were two llamas.  Their drinking water was beneath the green stuff. With recent flooding, they probably already drowned. We saw cages of small monkeys and baboons with no enrichments or water.  A lone zebra with an open neck wound was housed in a pen.  Two ring tailed lemurs were kept in a small cage with shelter for only one at a time. We were told at the beginning of our tour that we were not allowed to take pictures.  The guide emphasized

NO PHOTOS OR YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE!

Most of the animals were suffering from cage syndrome, mindlessly pacing back and forth. We didn’t go to the Petting Zoo so I don’t know what conditions prevailed in that area.

I emailed PETA and they replied that they contacted the USDA and advised me to do the same thing, which I did.  I sent a letter to the I Team Investigators at ABC-TV Action News, the Dade City and Pasco County Humane Societies, The St Petersburg Times and the Humane Society of the United States, vets at both Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens without any response to date. Enclosed is the reply from PETA.

I posted a blurb on Travel Advisor and it is there for all to see, along too many others who shared my experience. Can you direct me to somewhere or someone who can bring this blatant abuse to and end now?

I am a Florida resident also and this is happening in our back yard!  Take a ride on the “Jungle Safari Ride” and see for yourself. This place must be shut down and the animals placed in a more humane setting. These regal and innocent animals are languishing in a living hell and if we don’t do something….who will?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to a favorable response.

Very truly yours, ******”

Note: We withheld the name and contact info of this person, but they revealed it to the authorities and have asked the authorities to contact them.

You can help!

Do you remember other names of cubs who were used at Dade City’s Wild Things?  If so, please put the name, tiger or lion, and the year the animal was a cub in the comments section below.

 

Kathy Stearns Zoo Slapped with Official Warning Letter from USDA

Cited for improper fencing, inadequate veterinary care and improper cub handling among other things.

USDA Official Warning_Stearns Zoo 2012-05-31

Despite warning Dade City’s Wild Things began hyping a new baby tiger and encouraging people to book their Swim with a Tiger exploit between august 30 through September 15. 2012 before the pool water gets too cold.  If you know where she got this cub from, please post in the comments below.

On April 11, 2012 Dade City’s Wild Things was offering pay to play with three female tiger cubs who they said had been born three weeks prior.

On Aug 30, 2012 Dade City’s Wild Things was offering pay to play with a new tiger cub, saying that they could only do so until Sept 2012.

In an effort to catalog all of the cubs they have bred or bought for this purpose, please note in the comments section if you know dates when they had cubs for public contact.

 

Stearns Zoo

 

We wouldn't suggest eating there either

We wouldn’t suggest eating there either

DCWT regularly purchases tiger and lion cubs and exploits them to make money.   The cubs are taken from their mothers shortly after birth by the breeders.  This is a torment to both mother and cub, like it would be to any mammal species.  Then, once Stearns gets them, a former volunteer who was charged with walking them reports on what she was told to do as follows:  “The cub was playful.  It wanted to play bite, jump on my leg.  I was told that if it did that I was to grab it by the scruff and toss it to the ground and hold it there.  All training was by punishing physically.”   Stearns makes money from the cubs numerous ways.  She carts them out to fairs or other venues where the cubs are awakened repeatedly for anyone who will pay to pet them or take photos with them.  At her “zoo”, she charges for “encounters”.   One kind of encounter involves forcing the cub into a swimming pool so paying customers can swim with the cub.  Cubs don’t like holding still for petting sessions and photo opportunities.  The swimming solves that problem for Stearns because the cubs has to swim for dear life. And, Stearns can charge much more for this.

 

Stearns claims it is legal to use the cubs this way until they are 40 pounds.  Under Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission rules, if the employee relinquishes control, i.e. let’s you hold the cub, the legal weight is 25 pounds.    Meantime, Stearns blatantly violates the federal policies established by USDA that cubs cannot be used for petting under 8 weeks old because their immune systems are not sufficiently developed and over 12 weeks old because they are dangerous.  Unfortunately, enforcement of these rules is almost nonexistent.  Stearns was finally cited by USDA for causing stress to cubs during pay to play swimming sessions on p/14/12.   This was a repeat violation for improper animal handling.

 

In addition to exploiting the animals to make money and then keeping them in miserable conditions, Stearns has consistently demonstrated a lack of financial integrity and responsibility.  She has been arrested for passing bad checks (Sept 7, 2011 Kathy Stearns’ Worthless Check Case) and individuals formerly associated with the facility indicate this has been a recurring practice.   We are told she owes back pay to at least one former employee.   Tax deeds have been issued for her failure to pay tax on the property (Kathryn Stearns Tax Warrant May 2011.  More importantly and significantly for the future of the animals, the zoo property has been in foreclosure for years, with the proceedings delayed by a series of bankruptcy filings by Stearns and other individuals and entities (April 27, 2010 Kathryn P Stearns Foreclosure).

 

What happens after the cubs are too old to pet?  They end up spending the rest of their lives in misery living in tiny cages.

 

Below is a video showing the abusive treatment of the cubs and how they live after Stearns can no longer exploit them to make money.

 

 

 

Below is one visitor’s detailed description of the misery they saw at Dade City’s Wild Things

 

A friend and I recently visited Dade City’s Wild Things.  What we saw was amazing, in this day and age, but certainly NOT in a good way.  Maybe if I recount our trip there, you’ll understand why.

At the converted gift shop, Mr. Stearns loaded up about 20 guests onto their trolley car for transportation to their home and “zoo” a few miles away.  Each guest paid $22.95 for the tour and the majority eagerly paid another $20 for an “animal encounter” with a white tiger cub or a baby snow monkey to be included after the tour.  There are no cameras or video cameras or filming of any kind allowed on the tour.  When asked why, we were told that it’s because of those PETA people.  They said that they have to remain constantly vigilant because those animal activists can always make trouble for them.  I was soon to find out why.

Arriving at their home and surrounding grounds, your first impression is of beautiful rolling hills, towering oak trees hundreds of year’s old, lush, green landscapes.  Then you begin to notice the cages.  Though roosters, chicks, and dogs roam freely throughout their land, the animals that were born to do so have miniscule amounts of territory to call their own.

Kathy Stearns, the proprietor, gave the tour.  Having served as a Florida Fish and Wildlife Technical Advisory Committee member, she believes strongly in private ownership and is against all bans.  As she says on her blog, “I am proud of standing up for all exotic owners’ rights.  (Serving  on this committee) It sparked a great desire to work in spreading legislature(sic) issues because I experienced firsthand on(sic) how quickly our rights can be removed in working with non human primate owners in various other states like Pennsylvania where there is a ban on private ownership of non human primates.”

For a woman with a lifelong passion for wild animals and a beautiful piece of Florida property, we were expecting to see a collection of animals benefitting from both.  How shocking  to see the size of the cages where these animals spend every day of their lives.  The first Old World and New World monkeys she introduced us to, no matter their size, looked like they were living in approx. 10’x10’ cages that many shared with others.  No vegetation, no trees, no heights to climb.  A plastic hanging baby swing was all that 2 monkeys had to play with in their small cage. The 2 baboons we saw much later in the tour looked as if they were living in a cell like we used to see in old, rundown zoos decades ago.  Their human- like faces definitely betrayed the sadness of their captivity.

The hills were dotted with small, minimum size chain link cages.  Two servals were on display in a 6’x12’ cage, most of their space taken up with a makeshift pool.  The roosters and chicks clucked their way happily through the ferns and plants outside the serval cage while the servals couldn’t even be coaxed out to view. Though we were told they could jump 12-14’ in the wild, these 2 were contained in a cage that couldn’t have been 6’ high.  Again, the irony of seeing something so majestic with so much agility in the wilds of Africa yet here contained in one of the smallest cages I’ve seen….but there was more to come.

Ahead and up a hill, we saw a large metal building with many chain link cages attached to it.  We thought that surely these animals must have it better?  They must have indoor AND outdoor facilities?  This is where the big cats are housed. But, we were told that it was a maintenance and equipment building with no access for the animals.  On one side of the building, 2 full grown Florida panthers are housed together in a long, skinny,  dirt floor cage that looked to be about 10’x30’ and was attached to the side of the metal building with a low roof.  There is a mural painted on the side of the building depicting typical Florida life with alligators and marshes.  How I wished that was what life really consisted of for this unfortunate duo.

Around the other side of the building is where the big cats live.  An enormous male lion and a female lioness live in an open-top, chain link fenced cage that had a single hot wire running along top.  When someone commented how huge the animals were, all we could think of was how could they not be with so little room for exercise?  Again, just a dirt floor with little, if anything, to make life interesting for them.  No wonder the lioness bared her teeth at Kathy when she came close to her. Someone asked if the animals were neutered and Kathy said no.  We wondered, is this where the babies for the encounters come from then? But that’s another story.

Right next door to the lion cage is a duo of tigers.  Kathy said one was a Bengal weighing 1000 lbs.  As we stood so close, I wondered just how strong is that chain link fence between that enormous tiger and me?  He ran around and around in circles while his cage mate chased him.  I held my breath and hoped the cage held tight.  Chain link fences vs. 1000 lb. carnivores, I didn’t want to be anywhere near that competition!

In the background, I couldn’t help but notice a small round cage.  Imagine the shape of a tin can but this is about 12’ in diameter and is barren except in the middle, where 2 wooden boxes are stacked up as den boxes.  This tiny cage also had 2 full grown inhabitants – 2 cougars who I imagine tire of going round and round and round their entire lives with nothing to do, nothing to explore.  It looked like the definition of boredom.

Behind us was another sparse, small, low-roofed cage where 2 magnificent jaguars lived – one golden and another a luxurious, velvety black.  What struck us the most about this cage was how ironic that these tall, majestic oaks towered all around and yet, these 2 jaguars were panting in the hot enclosure with so little shade for them.  If we were drenched in sweat and Kathy was lingering under a water mister to cool off, how hot must that black fur coat be for that jaguar? Though we had heard that Cypress Gardens closed down and their jaguar Sheba was transferred here, we didn’t see her.   We were told she wouldn’t be seen on the tour.  Where is she?  What has happened to her?  That’s all we kept thinking.

We saw a herd of deer that, honestly, had the best enclosure on the property, though it borders the street fence line.  Then we saw the cages that really broke our hearts.  Two beautiful black leopards were caged in a barren, long, narrow cage that had a couple of shelves mounted inside.  One of the leopards was bald around his/her eyes, laid on one of the shelves, never lifted its head or moved, and stared blankly at us.  Another definition for us – misery.  The cage mate stood up and stretched to try to interact with Mr. Stearns.  What baffled us was why weren’t these guests asking many questions, why weren’t they seeing the things we were seeing, or was it just that they were simply anticipating their moments with the babies – that’s all they really came for?

On we went to the baboon “cell” I mentioned before.  They looked so human like, I couldn’t help but identify with them.  I thought about how incredibly sad life would be if I were relegated to a cage like that forever?  My feelings really sunk to a new low when I saw the small cage, behind theirs, that housed 2 extremely large bears.  They were very social bears, coming over to the cage wall, sitting, spending time there while visitors gawked at them. At this point, it was hard not to cry, not to shout out, “doesn’t anyone else see something wrong with all of this?”  But, when a guest asked “What’s your schedule for giving all these animals their baths?” and “How hard is it to bathe them?” and “What kind of animal is this?” (It was a tiger), I realized how little this group of people knew about the life these animals should be living, the space they need, the enrichment they need to stimulate their minds in captivity.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is it still just all about the baby encounters coming up?  Is that all they really care about?  These other animals and the way they’re living don’t matter?”

For a minute, Kathy couldn’t remember the names of the next 2 tigers we walked over to see.  I guess that was better than one of the other animals who, when asked what his name was, she said she doesn’t think he even has a name.  I thought, “Not even worth naming?”  At this point, everyone was hot, drained, and the 2 hours of looking at antiquated cages and sad looking animals was more than enough.  But, everyone perked up when it was announced that it was now time for “Animal Encounters.”

The majority of the guests had paid and signed up for this but, even if you hadn’t, you could participate and settle up later at the conclusion of the tour.  The first baby brought out was Jajay, the 7 week old baby snow monkey who was wheeled to us in a stroller wearing diapers.  A very young girl had requested to play with JaJay so he was plunked down on the picnic table on a towel for her to cuddle with and play with and pose for pictures with.  What if she had any respiratory illnesses or anything contagious?  What a vulnerable age for this little monkey.  When she was through with Jajay, and since no one else had booked time with him, he was put back in the stroller, zipped up, rolled behind the Tiki bar and left there alone while Kathy and all the other guests marched off to a small shed labeled “Nursery” for their time with Diamond, the white tiger cub caged inside.  We started hearing squealing and squeaking and looked over to see JaJay very upset, looking abandoned and forgotten back there.  Eventually, Kathy’s adult son came over and wheeled JaJay away. We wondered to where?

For close to half an hour, we waited while others were in the shed having their pictures taken and playing with the white tiger cub.  If you didn’t pay, you didn’t play. Kathy had said Diamond was donated to them by an Oklahoma zoo.  Donated?  We wondered how true could that be?  This was obviously the proverbial cash cow for “Wild Things.”  In reality, it’s what everyone was here for.  Mr. Stearns said that a couple drove all the way down from South Carolina the week before just for the chance to hold that little tiger since you couldn’t do it up there.  How ridiculous that this is what Florida is famous for – allowing people to hold and handle something so small, so precious, a baby who should be spending this time with its mother, not manhandled by the public for profit.

We were so upset, at this point, all we wanted to do was leave but we were trapped there with no transportation of our own.  We couldn’t believe our ears when one of the guests said he was a photographer with TBT (Tampa Bay Times) and he couldn’t wait to let everyone back at the newspaper know what a unique, fantastic place this is.  Of course, he was also one of the guests who couldn’t wait to go hold a tiger cub, an animal whose life, at this point, is spent locked up in a small cage in a shed with people filing in and out twice a day to “play” with her.

When everyone was through with Diamond, they escorted us back to the trolley.  I noticed a medium-sized cat off display pacing back and forth non-stop in what I thought was a transport type cage since it was so small.  Mr. Stearns said that’s the 7 month old panther cub that you can still have interaction with, if you want.  How could that be?  If my housecat can inflict scratches and scars on me, what could a fully clawed panther the size of a small German Shepherd do to me?  And, especially one that is so poorly caged and with nothing interesting to do but pace?

On the trolley back to the gift shop, one of the guests who went inside with Diamond said it was kind of hysterical watching Kathy grab the cub by the tail whenever Diamond tried to get away from the people.  She’d yank her back and plop her back wherever she wanted her.  She explained that it didn’t hurt the cub since her tail is attached to her spine and that’s how it’s done.  I can’t remember ever seeing any wildlife shots of that method.  Scruffing – yes, slinging a cub around by its tail – no.

The guest also mentioned that there were no pictures allowed.  You had to pay for the CD they sell at the end of the tour if you want any pictures.  The CD contains pictures taken by a photographer “Wild Things” has hired to photograph the animals.  This guest was obviously disgruntled about that since she felt she had already paid enough to them for this experience, she wasn’t going to pay more for pictures.  Yet, she never questioned why they don’t allow pictures.  If everything’s on the up and up, why are they afraid of the photos guests will take and possibly share?  Why must all the pictures be staged by them?

After being dropped off at the gift shop, we went to our car totally depressed thinking about how much more could be given to these animals by the Stearns since the property they have is so incredibly picturesque.  There is just no excuse for the small, inadequate cages these animals are housed in. There is plenty of room to give them more space, a better quality of life. Instead, we heard that their plans are to start running a tram service on another part of the property so “the old people who start coming to Florida soon and who can’t walk” will be able to come out and pay to tour the facility.  So, doesn’t that say it all?  Is quality of life for the animals important or boosting attendance?

What’s also demoralizing is everything we saw is perfectly legal in Florida; tiny cages, no quality of life for these various species, “pay to play” operations using baby animals as a source of income, promotion of more and more breeding, a continuous flow of animals who will have no future quality of life, and teaching people by example that animals deserve nothing better than this.  I’ll never get the images of these animals’ faces out of my mind.  They, more than any others, are “poster children” for why there should be a ban on breeding and private exotic animal ownership.

After this visit, it’s obvious that the Stearns have basic philosophical differences with my friend and I.  They see these animals as a treasure chest.  Quite the opposite, we see these animals as something to be treasured.  Sept. 2010

Despite all of their financial woes they continue to add to the problem by buying more and more lion and tiger cubs to use as photo props.  On May 16th, 2012 they announced, “Dade City’s Wild Things has just added another tiger cub to the three that were born six weeks ago. We are doing the full encounter schedule with them…”  Added from where?  Sue Pearce’s Myrtle Island Ranch in Okeechobee or GW Exotic Animal Park perhaps?
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Posted on Dec 6, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 16 comments

Black Jaguar White Tiger

Black Jaguar White Tiger

Dec 6, 2017 Instagram begins to flag animal abuse hashtags.  Now, if you search for cruel acts to do, such as #TigerSelfie Instagram pops up a notice saying “Protect Wildlife on Instagram  Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram.  You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment.”  If you type in #blackjaguarwhitetiger you get that warning now.

Hopefully this will put an end to the abusive practice of speed breeding big cats to pull their cubs for pay to play schemes and as ego props in photos and videos posted online.

Nov 14, 2017 Watchdog BJWT posted the following opinion piece and we agree that people need to just stop and think a minute, before they share those cub images, because even a few moments of thought should make people wonder why so many tiny cubs and where are they now?

A Facebook Page going by the name of “Action” posted a video of Serio with the title “This man has rescued over 300 big cats. ” This video was shared over 100,000 times. I’ve had a long think about how I’m going to address these grievous actions and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will stick to the facts and omit my more profanity filled opinions about this arsehole. Those are for another day. Let me educate you all:

This cub could aspirate on the milk in this position which could end in pneumonia or death.

1. There is no legal definition of a “sanctuary” in Mexico. There are only “private collectors” of big cats and Zoological Parks.

2. Black Jaguar White Tiger is registered as a “Zoological Entertainment Facility.” Therefore, and make no mistake about this, his facility is NOT a “sanctuary,” it is a ZOO.

3. Eduardo Serio is an ex LA Socialite who spent his years growing up in Hollywood rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. He had shares in a company by the name of Social Reality Inc, a company worth over US$300million. Social Reality Inc is an Internet advertising and technology company. It specializes in developing tools that automate online advertising and digital marketing activities. Serio, according to Serio, sold his share portfolio to fund his Zoo. He is first and foremost, a savvy business man. He has NO knowledge or education or science background in animal husbandry, or big cat behavior and ecology. Nada.

4. He started as a “private collector” of big cats. First with a Jaguar, Cielo, then a lion, Karma and a tiger, Tieris. He shared his house in Monterrey with his three pets together with his co founder of the foundation and now ex girlfriend Rachel Brandt.

5. At that time, his social media accounts were private. His Instagram account consisted of cute videos of his three pets frolicking in swimming pools, playing in his house, with his friends, suckling pacifiers like babies, and chewing on inappropriate items which resulted in the death of Karma.

6. He hit upon the idea of making his Instagram public. Once he pushed that button, Black Jaguar White Tiger was thrust into cyberspace resulting in hundreds of thousands of followers in just a few days. The draw card being the “cutesy” videos of big cat cubs kept as pets in a mansion.

6. When he realized he was sitting on a “fame” goldmine, he upped the videos and started using the word “rescue.” You see, up until that point, he was using the word “adopt.” It just didn’t have the same impact, nor did it pull on the heartstrings of the public in the same way the word “rescue” did. Of course, as the sun rises and sets, his Instagram exploded to what it is today. Over 7 million followers, nearly all of them clueless and ignorant about the ethical management of captive wildlife. Black Jaguar White Tiger has turned into a cub petting empire.

7. PROFEPA and SEMARNAT have given him rescued circus cats. That is true, as there are NO other facilities available to house them other than zoos which are already filled to capacity. The officials were quite impressed with his fame and social media standing. Both government agencies have no idea about the ethical keeping of apex predators and have positioned Serio as Mexico’s foremost expert of big cats. Think about that. A man with no background, education or science.

8. Once BJWT was established, Serio began bringing in more and more cubs. ALWAYS small, nursing cubs. Even with the ban on circus animals, the number one cat “rescued” at BJWT is nursing cubs. If you all go far enough back in his Instagram feed, you’ll find numerous cubs, newborns still with their umbilical cords attached, accompanied with Serio’s bizarre reasons why he has “rescued” them. “The mothers abandoned them, the mothers can’t nurse them, they are runts, they are inbred and have problems.” This list of make believe reasons is regurgitated numerous times when new cubs appear. Same old story, different days. In essence, Serio is a private pet owner, who “claims” to have “rescued” dozens and dozens of big cat cubs, whom he has then used to induce people to follow his social media sites. Without these nursing cubs, Serio’s powerful presence on social media would not be what it is today. How is it that new born cubs magically appear, like clock work, when the previous batch has reached a certain age and can no longer be housed in the mansion? Please use your cognitive thinking when trying to search for an answer. Think about that.

9. Everyone must use an objective gaze when looking at conservation, and apply it here. What functional impact on the protection of wild jaguars does a video of a man pushing a jaguar cub around in a child’s push-car toy have? Nothing. That video is a video of a man playing with his pet. It has, literally, no effect on, or connection to, the protection of existing wild species. But Serio uses the hashtag #protectjaguars and claims that his video of himself playing with his pet somehow promotes “conservation”. This is his gimmick, his schtick. He claims to “raise awareness” via his social media, and yet the only awareness he raises is for his own interactions with his animals.

10. In the public eye BJWT and Serio are the “new face” of conservation, which consists of giving cats a home once they’ve been rescued, but to those of us actively working in conservation–and trying desperately to get the public to care about WILD big cats currently living in wild habitats–Serio is nothing more than false advertising. Nothing he does, or says, helps WILD populations, and all the attention he gets comes from captive bred animals, which were captivity bred just so he could use them to get attention. He is literally actively ADDING to the problem of native big cats, while claiming to solve problems in the wild.

11. There is a long laundry list of questionable methods and practices at BJWT. The mixing of big cat species takes top spot. Here is a fantastic article describing this flawed practice Serio forces on his cats. Please educate yourselves: https://www.facebook.com/notes/bjwt-watchdog/why-idealistic-communes-are-both-legendary-and-almost-non-existent/2007238446165632/

12. Cub-petting is, by definition, something done for, and benefiting only to, the humans who are doing the petting. A big cat literally has no need to ever be held by human hands. This is the sort of objective gaze with which conservation must be viewed, with the questions of “How does this animal, and future wild populations benefit from what’s going on?” and “Is this being done for the animal alone?” always in the back of your mind. When you apply those questions to situations like very small cubs being used for photo props, or in situations where customers can pay to hold and play with them, the the fact that those cubs are being bred and produced solely to be used to make money through charging customers a price to play with them is obvious. In the case of BJWT, his celebrity friends are pushing the idea that handling big cats is a “normal” practice and does have conservation value. IT DOES NOT. BJWT HAS NO CONSERVATION VALUE WHATSOEVER.

13. Serio has inspired other foundations which are being actively established, such as Malkia Park in Slovakia, which interact with their cats just like Serio does, and whom Serio supports. But again, these places are breeding cats, and allowing the public to interact with them in order to make money, and they have, literally no impact on actual conservation, aside from the fact that they’re changing the public’s perception of it. People are now coming to think that to go to these parks, and play with the animals is supporting conservation of wild species. And just like the Tiger Temple in Thailand, which commodified their animals, together with other facilities which engage in these same practices, are damaging conservation efforts world wide. The greatest damage being done to wild animals today is the commodification of conservation.

THANK YOU.  by Watchdog BJWT

How can anyone be a follower of Eddie Serio when they see him kick a small cat and mock the cat’s worried owner in this video? https://www.facebook.com/astiffany

Here is a great article from 2016 https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/cubs-cubs-everywhere-and-with-them-oh-the-funds-well-snare/

This is another excellent article about Black Jaguar White Tiger.

Where do celebrities go to pet cubs?  There are a few backyard breeders in the U.S. but the place that attracts the most, and ignorant celebrities is Black Jaguar White Tiger in Mexico.

You know the public opposes cub breeding and handling when Gizmodo goes after the perpetrators of such cub petting schemes with a vengeance like this article.

This is another well considered article that exposes the lies:  https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/a-rescuer-is-supposed-to-rescue/

Yahoo Celebrity News understands why it’s wrong: https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/celebs-favorite-animal-sanctuary-raises-serious-004456713.html

And bloggers speak out against using cub petting as a way to end cub petting. #BJWT (we had to remove the link to this article because she said she was being threatened and harassed by the BJWT gang.

Artemis Grey calls out Eddie Serio when he tries to act like he’s answering the questions people have, but really isn’t  https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/with-a-sleight-of-social-media-hand-how-black-jaguar-white-tiger-continues-to-choose-slander-over-answers/

Black Jaguar White Tiger

We get a lot of questions about Black Jaguar White Tiger, asking if it is a legitimate sanctuary.  We don’t think so for the reasons listed below.

Sadly, it’s starting to become popular among animal lovers, despite their extremely unprofessional practices.  Like not knowing how to bottle feed a cub and having her blow milk out her nose, which leads to pneumonia:

Black Jaguar White Tiger is a newly-founded private “rescue” for big cats, which started about a year or so ago in a wealthy area of Mexico City. It’s owned and operated by a Mr. Eduardo Serio. While he seems to have good intentions, they are paired with some very questionable practices.

Serio appears to “rescue” his animals by buying them from circuses and private zoos, usually as young cubs. Very young cubs.  Cubs that still have a lot of lucrative weeks left in them for the abusers.  This, of course, is a counterproductive strategy in the long run, because it only encourages the bad breeders to keep breeding. He claims to have “saved” over 30 cats in his first year of operation, which is scary. I know he probably wants to “save them all”, but at that rate, things are going to get out of hand very quickly. Unless he has a lot of resources or learns to say “no”, I’m worried it’s going to turn into a hoarding situation. Serio supposedly has 100 acres of land, but the enclosures are already starting to look pretty crowded, if this video is anything to go by.

Serio states that he does not spay or neuter his animals. My best guess for the reason, given his other opinions, is that he probably believes that it is “cruel” to do so because it would deny them the “natural life” he’s trying to provide (some domestic pet owners still believe this). Unsurprisingly, his cats appear to be breeding like rabbits. On July 16, he posted a video on Facebook of a new litter of lion cubs.  In response Serio has said that someday he will use contraceptives, but there are no safe contraceptives for use in big cats.  Any zoo can tell you horror stories (if they are honest with you) about the cancers and other health issues that are caused by using pharmaceutical solutions to over breeding.

If you are running a sanctuary and want the cats to not breed and live long happy, healthy lives, then you spay and neuter.  Doing it when they are younger increases the cat’s ability to survive the procedure and recover, so there is no excuse not to do it, especially if you have males and females living together.

And in this video, a poor lion can’t even eat without having 3 young tigers trying to steal his food (although I don’t know the origin of the tigers – they may have been “rescued” (i.e. bought). Unlike other breeders, however, Serio does not sell cubs because he firmly believes that nobody should “own” an animal. Nobody except him, of course, because he “loves” them. So all of the cubs are just piling up at his ranch and causing serious overcrowding issues. While he does occasionally invite people (especially famous people) to pet them, he hasn’t turned it into a business… yet. He really seems to hate the people who breed cubs for photo props, having “rescued” several malnourished cubs from photo displays. However, his site does mention that he is planning a “volunteer” program, which conjures up images of those places in South Africa where people essentially pay to play with big cats.

Abuse-MinneapolisZoo_TigerCubsBy far, the biggest problem I have with Serio’s new “Foundation” is that it’s constantly churning out photos and videos on Instagram and Facebook. I’m sure you’re well aware of this, but these photos show Serio patting adult lions on the head, “play-wrestling” with tigers, pushing jaguars around in wheelbarrows, hugging lionesses, and other inappropriate (and unsafe) behaviors. He even has videos of exotic cats living peacefully in his house like a pet, which only encourages the pet trade. Serio (and his followers) often refer to the cats as “kids”, and visitors to the ranch are invited to “play” with 500-lb. adult lions – not a good idea.

Serio claims on his website that the reason his cats don’t attack people (and I’m not making this up) is “the bond of pure and innocent love that keeps us living harmoniously among one another”. It’s the very same fantasy that has doomed so many big cats to life as “pets” – people so desperately want to believe that as long as they have “love”, everything will be OK.

Hundreds of the people who have been mauled and killed by captive big cats thought they were special too and thought that their love for their big cat “friends” was all they needed.  http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks/

Of course, gaggles of well-meaning animal lovers (the same kind who would fall for cub-petting schemes) have nothing but praise for Serio and his “amazing bond.” They think that this is the way a real sanctuary is run, to say nothing of the hundreds who express their wishes for their very own pet big cat, or at least the chance to touch one. An ironic message for Serio to be sending, since he says he doesn’t believe that animals should be property.

We reached out to Serio a year or more before this post, because we thought he was doing himself a huge disservice by posing with cubs. We told him that no animal protection group would accept him or even think him a good person unless he stopped acting in such a hypocritical way. We tried to reason with him and didn’t expose him for a long time because we thought he was just foolish and not trying to be cruel. We could not continue to ignore him though when he began trotting celebrities through and having them pose with cubs because people will stupidly mimic celebrities without thinking about the consequences for the cats. We really tried to be nice and still want him to do the right thing.

Overall, I’d say that Black Jaguar White Tiger is nothing more than an ego project from a well-meaning, but seemingly delusional man. He often posts about the “horrible conditions” his cats came from and about how “happy” they are to live with him – and his followers eat it up, calling him an “angel” and praising him profusely for “saving” the animals. And of course, the celebrity snapshots and cute cub pictures have made him a rising star on Instagram. But I don’t think he’s only in it for the glory – he genuinely seems to think he’s “saving the world” by “rescuing” every circus cub in Mexico.

Sadly, like so many animal hoarders, he can’t see the harm he’s doing. This situation is only going to get worse, I’m afraid, especially with the lack of laws in Mexico regarding exotic animals as pets.

When Big Cat Rescue’s founder and CEO was in Mexico in 2015, Eduardo refused to speak to her or allow her to step foot on the property, because he knows that we do not condone posing with big cats.  What else does he have to hide?

Here is a good list of articles about #BJWT

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