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Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name, Shut Down | 0 comments

Karl and Kayla Mitchell All Acting Animals AKA Big Cat Encounters

Karl and Kayla Mitchell All Acting Animals AKA Big Cat Encounters

Karla and Kayla Mitchell


Animal Protection Groups and Sanctuaries Challenge Zoning Permit for Pahrump Tiger Exhibitor

Pahrump, NV. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s premier legal advocacy organization for animals, was joined by PETA, and three reputable big cat sanctuaries, Lions, Tigers, & Bears (“LT&B”), and Keepers of the Wild, and Big Cat Rescue, in appealing the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission’s (RPC) issuance of a conditional use permit to Kayla Mitchell to keep ten tigers.

On November 12, the RPC voted 4-3 to issue the permit to Kayla Mitchell despite her role in the ongoing illegal exhibition of big cats and improper interstate transport of tigers without a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) license on behalf of Big Cat Encounters, a business that makes tigers available for direct contact and other exhibition in exchange for a fee. The groups argue that permit issuance to Kayla Mitchell is improper given that her husband, Karl Mitchell, their business, Big Cat Encounters, and their landlord, Ray “Flagman” Mielzinski, are currently under a Nye County District Court order to remove the tigers from Pahrump. The Mitchells refused to comply with the court’s order, issued following the county’s revocation of Karl Mitchell’s permit due to his violation of its conditions—including illegal exhibition of tigers without a USDA license.

ALDF, PETA, LT&B, Keepers of the Wild, and Big Cat Rescue have offered to rehome the big cats to reputable sanctuaries.


Two of Mitchell’s cats were sent to Big Cat Rescue back in the 1990’s.  Founder, Carole Baskin said, “Two of the worst cases of physical abuse I have ever seen came from Karl Mitchell.  Back in the 90s we rescued a black leopard, named Shaquille (photo at right) and a cougar named Darla from him.  When they arrived their faces were bloodied beyond recognition.  Darla’s injuries resulted in a fungal infection of the brain that later killed her.  Shaquille’s eyes constantly teared from the malformed healing of his skull.  When my late husband called Karl to ask what had happened to them, he said Karl told him that he had to take a baseball bat to them and that’s why he didn’t want them any more.”

Big Cat Rescue’s policy for the last 18 years has been that if they take a cat it must either be a government confiscation or the owner must agree to never possess another cat.

“The Mitchells have played fast and loose with the law for long enough,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Instead of acting in the best interest of the cats they use as entertainment props, they continue to defy federal laws and a local court order meant to keep the animals and community safe. ALDF is calling upon Nye County Commissioners to reject the Mitchells’ latest attempt to circumvent the law, and overturn the permit that the RPC improperly issued.”

Nevada is one of six states (NV, AL, NC, SC, WI, IN) that currently does not regulate the private ownership of inherently dangerous animals. ALDF, PETA, LT&B, Keepers of the Wild, and Big Cat Rescue all advocate against the use of big cats for pets or entertainment, and have worked with localities in Nevada that aim to institute basic public safety and animal welfare measures.

Copies of the appeal are available upon request.


About ALDF

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit

About PETA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), founded in 1980, is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. The organization’s mission statement provides that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or exploit in any way. For more information, please

About Lions, Tigers, & Bears

Lions Tigers & Bears is a no kill, no breed, no sell rescue and educational facility that allows the big cats and bears in its care the opportunity to live out their lives with dignity in safe, species-appropriate habitats. The sanctuary, located on 96 acres outside of San Diego, Calif., is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), which recently awarded the Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence to LT&B Founder and Director, Bobbi Brink. For more information, please visit,

About Keepers of the Wild

Keepers of the Wild, located approximately two hours east of Las Vegas in Valentine, Ariz., provides life-long care for more than 140 exotic and indigenous wild animals who were rescued, surrendered by an owner, or rehomed by other animal welfare agencies. The sanctuary is engaged in public education and collaborates with several organizations to help pass legislation aimed at curtailing the use of exotic animals in traveling circuses and exhibits. Keepers of the Wild has been the recipient of numerous commendations and awards from animal welfare groups and government agencies, including the Nevada Wildlife Federation and the Arizona Attorneys’ & Sheriffs’ Association. For more information, please visit

About Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue, located in Tampa, Fla., is a GFAS-accredited sanctuary for tigers, lions, and other exotic cats who have been rescued or confiscated from owners who can no longer care for them. Big Cat Rescue has emerged as a leading national voice in advocating for state and federal legislation to end the exploitation of big cats for entertainment and use as pets. The sanctuary pursues its vision of ending the exploitation of captive exotic animals and promoting legitimate species conservation by providing lifelong care to big cats and public education. For more information, please

Sept 5, 2015

Karl Mitchell Given Till 9/1/15 to Remove All Tigers

The notorious Karl Mitchell was back in court this past week, and has not complied with the court’s previous order to remove the tigers he is illegally keeping and exhibiting (his USDA license was permanently revoked in 2001 but he has continued to sell tiger encounters and disregard USDA cease and desist orders). He was given another week, and is facing incarceration if he does not comply by next week’s court appearance. His latest defense is that the tigers are therapy animals for his PTSD.

By Selwyn Harris

Karl Mitchell has been given until Sept. 10, 2015 to remove the animals or face jail time.

The nearly five-year dispute between Nye County and Karl Mitchell, owner and operator of Big Cat Encounters Ranch, reached a new landmark Tuesday during a hearing before Fifth District Court Judge Kim Wanker to determine whether Mitchell can legally keep his 10 tigers on the property belonging to longtime Pahrump resident Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski.

Wanker ruled in favor of the county and ordered Mitchell to remove the animals, per county ordinance.

If the tigers are not removed by the time both men return to court in September, they face contempt of court charges, punishable by up to 25 days in jail and a fine.

Mitchell did not mince words when talking about the decision.

“I’m not disappointed, I expected it,” said Mitchell, who added the judge just followed what the county wanted her to do. “She’s afraid of controversy. She claims to read everything, but if she read everything, she wouldn’t have made the decision that she made.”

Mitchell, who is black, also said he knows why he’s being targeted by county officials regarding his tigers.

“Racial hatred and animus is behind all of this,” he said. “I’ve been trying to be a good man, but I’m continually picked at and probed. People need to understand that there are four other facilities in town that are not required to have conditional use permits. There’s one facility one mile from here and they have cats but they are not required to have a conditional use permit.”

Mitchell noted that the acreage his tigers call home, at present, will not see development anytime soon.

“These lots that surround our 20-acre parcel are unbuildable, and will never see any development until a developer puts a half million dollars’ worth of infrastructure to bring water out,” he said. “Nobody’s going to buy a $3,000 lot and spend a half million dollars to get water to it. The fact that it’s unbuildable means that it should be taken out of the planning district and nothing’s going to happen here. There’s been no action here since the 1970’s.”

There appears to be at least two opportunities for Mitchell’s tigers to remain on the property before they’re scheduled to return to court.

Mielzynski said the county commissioners could ease some of the zoning restrictions for the land.

“All the commissioners have to do is say just take that out of the Regional Planning Commission,” he said. “There are a lot of parts of Pahrump that are not under them. Amargosa and Tonopah is not under the Regional Planning Commission and this property happens to be right on the edge of it.”

Mielzynski also he believes the judge was in error when she issued the ruling.

He supported his statement by suggesting that local laws and ordinances should not supersede federal laws.

“They are saying that local ordinances somehow trump federal law and it was actually brought out that maybe this should be discussed in federal court,” he said.

Mitchell noted that he’ll sit down and talk with county officials to somehow reach an agreement that would result in a favorable compromise for both parties.

“I’m having a meeting with county officials and talk about the protocols involved on removing this property from the planning department,” he said. “By removing it from the planning department, it takes away the onus of us having to have a conditional use permit, which we were exempted from in the first place.”

If both sides do not reach an amicable arrangement, Mitchell said he will remain defiant, for the safety of his tigers.

He noted animals suffer unnecessary stress when tranquilized and moved from familiar surroundings.

“I’m not moving them,” he said. “That’s pretty much it. I’m not going to tranquilize my tigers and move them someplace else to satisfy some paper-shuffling a-hole in the planning department.”

Under Wanker’s ruling, all of the tigers must be removed from the property by the time the two defendants are scheduled to appear back before the judge in September.

An additional element of the case the defendants said, is the literal definition of the facility.

Mielzynski said if Big Cat Encounters Ranch was a non-profit agency, the issue would not be an issue.

“It is only because of this technicality that supposedly we’re not a sanctuary,” he said. “We do not have a 501 3 C nonprofit status and that was part of the definition of a sanctuary, so we are not a sanctuary.”

Additionally, a new designation for the land could also help save the tigers.

“If this land was de-annexed by the county commissioners, this whole issue would be moot,” Mielzynski said. “Even though the property is zoned for tigers, we wouldn’t have to get a conditional use permit.”

Mitchell, meanwhile, said local officials should take the time to learn about a federal law that supports his position.

“The Endangered Species Act states in part, that government will take no action to disturb existing and thriving populations of endangered species,” he said. “That is a direct quote from federal law. To try to disturb us over a minor zoning infraction, is ludicrous.”

Mitchell also said local animal control officials assured him the issue does not fall under the auspices of Nye County Animal Control.

“Animal Control is not involved in any of this and will not be involved in any of this,” he said. “They will say that it’s the planning department who are creating this big problem. This piece of property is an isolated piece of property.”

When reached for comment on Thursday, Nye County Emergency Services Director Vance Payne issued a brief statement on the matter.

“We have neither training nor facilities to address big cats,” he stated in an email.

Mielzynski said it was a single complaint from a local resident that put the issue on the county’s radar.

“When the commissioners approved this back in 2007, they made it complaint-driven which means you can have the cats and other large animals as long as nobody complains, so you won’t need a conditional use permit,” he said. “There are four other big cat places here that do not have this conditional use permit because nobody complained about them.”



Karl Mitchell has hit a legal roadblock in his desire to keep tigers in their current location in Pahrump.

By Mark Waite
Pahrump Valley Times  November 29, 2014

Mitchell of Big Cat Encounters was ordered to remove tigers from the property of Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski at 6061 N. Woodchips Drive under an order issued by District Court Judge Kimberly Wanker last week.

Wanker granted an order of summary judgment requested by Nye County, which filed suit against Mitchell, Mielzynski and Big Cat Encounters in January. But Mitchell, who was originally denied a conditional use permit required to house his tigers in a rural homestead zone by the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission back in 2012, said there won’t be a roundup of his big cats any time soon. He plans an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

“At this point there’s nothing going on,” Mitchell said. “The judge did side with the county but we think she’s in error. She even said she could be in error and she stayed the action on this until it’s appealed to the state.”

The defendants claimed the property was an animal sanctuary before the passage of the county zoning ordinance in 2007 and thus is grandfathered into the regulations.

“Since 1994 it was a private animal sanctuary and that’s the usage issue,” Mitchell said. “I believe the Supreme Court will find if it was used for that purpose for all that time, then it’s grandfathered usage.”

He said Mielzynski’s brother built an animal sanctuary which continued after his death. Mitchell said the location, at the far north end of Pahrump about a mile away from the nearest home, lies on a county wildlife corridor. Mielzynski got his nickname by standing out on the highway waving the flag, he also is a keen court watcher and ran for sheriff numerous times.

Nye County Animal Control Officer Vance Payne said he could find no evidence an animal sanctuary existed there before zoning took effect. He said it was a county zoning issue and wasn’t in charge of the removal.

The judge’s order, issued Nov. 18, said no special condition animals existed on the property before the passage of zoning June 20, 2007. The defendants didn’t have a conditional use permit for the animals and failed to comply with requests to voluntarily abate the nuisance.

“The matters admitted at hearing clearly supports the fact that no establishment owned or operated by a licensed profit or non-profit organization existed on or at the property known as 6061 N. Woodchips prior to the adoption by Nye County of the comprehensive rezoning map in June 2007,” the judge ruled. “There is no genuine issue of material fact regarding the existence of an animal sanctuary as defined in Nye County Code … or special conditions animals existing on or at the real property prior to 2007.”

She adds Nye County Code states any use of the property contrary to the provisions of the zoning ordinance shall be declared unlawful and a public nuisance.

In a general statement on planning, Wanker wrote, “Continued violation of the Nye County Code is unlawful and interferes with the power and authority of Nye County to regulate the long-range financial impact of the application of particular land to particular kinds of development, to preserve the relative suitability of the land for appropriate development, to ensure the protection of existing neighborhoods and communities and to promote the health and the general welfare of all residents of Nye County.”

Mitchell blamed animal rights groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for pursuing the case.

“It’s the animal rights people who don’t live in this town, don’t live in this state. They really don’t have a dog in this fight,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he could move out of the Pahrump Regional Planning District and have his tigers and still live in Nye County legally. He said there are now 11 tigers, including a “liger,” a cross between a tiger and a lion, by Christmas that could increase to 15.

“Which is another contention. Well if it’s legal in other areas of the county without a conditional use permit, then what is this all about?” Mitchell asked. The matter should be about the usage of the land, not the person, he said, adding, “it’s been turned into a personal vendetta by the county versus the usage of the land.”

Mitchell has a long history in Pahrump. He operated Big Cat Encounters at another location when he was contracted as Nye County animal control officer in 2000. But it lasted only a year, before there were criminal charges over everything from theft to animal cruelty. The charges were dismissed but Mitchell eventually served time for stealing a vehicle belonging to a member of Big Cat Encounters. While in prison, his animals were transferred to an animal sanctuary in Texas.

The RPC deadlocked 3-3 when Mitchell first applied for a conditional use permit to house his tigers at the Flagman’s property in June 2012. The RPC was told to vote again on the permit to break the tie in August, 2012 and voted 4-1 to deny it. Nye County Commissioners then reversed the RPC decision by a 3-2 vote in October 2012, allowing him to house the tigers, when Mitchell presented 583 signatures in favor, some people from as far away as New Zealand, Greece and Brazil.

PETA countered that Mitchell had a history of violating federal and local laws, and of animal neglect and cruelty. PETA claimed his permit to exhibit tigers was permanently revoked. Mitchell has claimed his property is private, not a zoo. But his website asked for donations to see the animals.

In February 2013, the RPC voted to revoke Mitchell’s conditional use permit, because he allegedly exhibited tigers on the property in violation of his county permit. Mitchell said he allowed a photo shoot with the tigers for a friend. The permit comes with a condition that required Mitchell to comply with all federal, state, county and town regulations.

This time Nye County Commissioners in April 2013 voted 3-2 to uphold the RPC decision revoking the conditional use permit. Commissioners Frank Carbone and Donna Cox voted against the motion.

Mitchell appealed to district court. Both Mitchell and Mielzynski appeared in court representing themselves during a hearing on the summary judgment petition Oct. 16, attorney Jonathon Nelson appeared on behalf of Big Cat Encounters.

June 27, 2014 is Nye County Hearing Date.

8 News NOW

A Pahrump exotic animal owner still vows to defy federal law in his fight to keep several tigers on his property.

The I-Team has followed tiger owner Karl Mitchell for more than a decade. Mitchell is openly defiant of federal law. His exotic animal exhibitors license was revoked 13 years ago, but Mitchell shows no signs of giving up his fight.

He still loves to exhibit his tigers at his Pahrump ranch. His website shows a parade of celebrities and Hollywood starlets taking pictures with the big cats. The going rate, according to his customers, is a “donation” of $750 for two people to visit the tigers. It was 2012, the last time an 8 News NOW camera was inside the ranch.

Mitchell approached the I-Team, last month, in Pahrump and talked about his tigers.

“I have tons of famous folks come out to visit me in Pahrump. People who are internationally known and nationally known. They’re my friends because I’ve got 40 years in the film business,” Mitchell said. “If they show up to take a picture and their pictures go out in People magazine, it’s to promote the town of Pahrump. It’s only to do positive and good things. There’s nothing negative that comes from it other than a few haters that think that you shouldn’t touch a tiger.”

Those who don’t support Mitchell include federal government officials. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has fined Mitchell nearly $100,000. The fine has never been paid.

The fine came after years of Mitchell continuing to show off his tigers, despite a federal court order.

“Karl Mitchell’s license to exhibit animals was permanently revoked in part because of his abusive training techniques including withholding water as a training practice with the tigers he exploits and uses for his entertainment business,” said Carnie Anne Nasser, an attorney for PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Nye County’s district attorney sued Mitchell and the ranch land owner, who is sheriff’s candidate Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski, for running the tiger ranch without a county permit.

Mitchell would only agree to talk with the I-Team if the interview was not recorded. He says his rights to own tigers in Pahrump are grandfathered because of how long he’s been in the town. He also refers to himself as a private animal owner. His company, Big Cat Encounters, is listed as a non-profit corporation.

A judge determined there were unsafe conditions and government inspectors are concerned about the safety of people visiting the tigers. Mitchell believes the government is overstepping its bounds and the federal laws don’t apply to him.

Last legislative session, state Senator Michael Roberson, a Republican, wrote a bill that would allow county commissioners to create criminal penalties for people keeping exotic animals as pets. It passed the state senate overwhelmingly, but failed to come up for a vote in the assembly before deadline.

Nye County’s civil court lawsuit against Mitchell is scheduled for June 27.


Bad News for Karl Mitchell, Good News for Big Cats as Appeal Falls Flat

Pahrump, Nev. — After receiving information from PETA, Big Cat Rescuers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Nye County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) today upheld the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission’s (RPC) February 13 unanimous vote to revoke notorious animal abuser Karl Mitchell’s conditional use permit (CUP) to keep exotic animals in the jurisdiction. Mitchell, who owns a disgraceful tiger menagerie called Big Cat Encounters and had appealed the RPC’s permit revocation, has been exhibiting big cats, even though he has not held the requisite USDA license since his was permanently revoked in 2001. These violations of federal law mean that Mitchell should never have been issued a CUP by the county.

“Karl Mitchell’s days of terrorizing big cats in Nye County are numbered,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA thanks the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners for making clear that animal abuse and defiance of the law will not stand.”

In February 2012, PETA called on the USDA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to file criminal charges against Mitchell for exhibiting tigers and transporting them across state lines without a license. The federal investigations are still pending.

Over the years, Mitchell has been cited repeatedly by the USDA for a litany of Animal Welfare Act violations. They include—but are not limited to—failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, living conditions, and palatable food and water; cruelly withholding water as a training technique; and continuing to exhibit big cats illegally. He has also been slapped with three cease-and-desist orders—which he failed to comply with—and more than $100,000 in fines.

April 16, 2013  For more information, please visit Contact:  David Perle 202-483-7382


Animal Intervention Show


Karl Mitchell was featured on Animal Intervention in the fall of 2012 thumbing his nose at USDA and proclaiming that federal laws don’t apply to him.

That landed him back in court in Nye County where they are considering the fact that his failure to maintain a USDA license is cause for revocation of his permit to keep dangerous carnivores in his back yard.  Read the USDA’s letter to Nye County and stay up to date on the pending hearing in February.

Karl Mitchell All Acting Animals AKA Big Cat Encounters

Karl Mitchell All Acting Animals AKA Big Cat Encounters

Despite Pahrump’s long-held reputation as a haven for oddballs, hermits, malcontents and rugged individualists, I will say this for the folks who live there — they most certainly are a forgive-and-forget kind of crowd. Especially the “forget” part.It is astonishing, even by Nye County standards, that elected officials and government regulators could pretend to know little or nothing about the violent and tortured history of infamous animal trainer Karl Mitchell. Mitchell is the human equivalent of the herpes virus. He keeps resurfacing, a crusty canker sore that scabs over but never really goes away.

Now he’s back. To be honest, I can’t imagine why he would even bother to ask Nye County for permission to set up an exotic animal sanctuary. Mitchell has shown contempt for government authority and law enforcement for decades. He’s been arrested, fined, shut down, thrown into prison, exposed by media, hounded by animal-welfare agencies and organizations — and none of it has mattered to him one bit. No matter what an entity like Nye County decides regarding his sanctuary, he will do exactly what he wants and thumb his nose at everyone.

If the name Karl Mitchell sort of rings a bell, allow me to reintroduce him. I’ve been reporting on his outrageous exploitation of exotic animals since the mid-1990s. Back then, a Las Vegas animal-lover named Linda Faso told me about what she said was Mitchell’s inhumane treatment of numerous animals, including big cats, at a ramshackle compound in Pahrump. I checked it out and found despicable conditions for several tigers and other cats, including endangered species crammed into tiny cages, eating rotten food, tormented by flies and piles of feces and deprived of water in the brutal heat of summer. Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued 45 citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Mitchell never missed a beat. In 2001, the USDA formally revoked his license to exhibit exotic animals, but Mitchell declared himself to be beyond the regulatory reach of USDA and continued to operate, charging visitors to see his animals, advertising them for use in film and photo shoots, squeezing every last dime he could get out of the magnificent animals. In 2010, a federal hearing officer ruled that Mitchell is not, in fact, above the law and fined him a whopping $68,000, which was added to a $27,000 fine assessed in 2001.

Oh, but his sordid history goes back much further. He’s been arrested at least a dozen times in Nevada and California, including a bust in California for trying to flatten two Fish and Game officers who suspected he was dealing in black-market exotic animals. California officials described Mitchell as a “threat to both animals and humans.”

In the weeks leading up to Mitchell’s appearance before the Nye County Commission, various officials in Pahrump have made statements that are simply jaw-dropping in their ignorance. Animal-control officials say they have no record of problems with Mitchell’s treatment of his critters, and the Planning Commission gave its preliminary approval to an exotic animal compound that would be home to eight tigers, a liger and other animals, saying they don’t see how it could pose a danger to anyone. Oh, really?

His previous Pahrump compounds scared the crap out of everyone who lived within a mile of his place. In 2002, Mitchell shot and killed one of his tigers because it got out. In 2004, his then-girlfriend had one of her fingers bitten off by one of Mitchell’s cats. Although he has no permits of any kind for exhibiting his animals, Mitchell has continued to charge $500 for an hour of close contact with his cats. His website still advertises the opportunity to “swim with tigers” or “romp with baby tigers.” He even refers to his place as a “unique tourist destination,” and his web page is packed with photos of dim-bulb celebrities who have lent their names and faces to promoting his pathetic paean to animal exploitation, including the likes of Paris Hilton and Megan Fox.

But here’s the topper. Hase everyone in Nye forgotten that Mitchell was hired as their head animal-control officer, and how that ended? Despite all of his problems and arrests, he got the job in 2000. Mitchell was arrested three times in one month while running animal control, was accused of stealing $40,000 worth of checks and was sent to prison for two years for stealing a vehicle from the county. I mean, does any of this sort of ring a bell, folks?

“I am always appalled whenever Karl Mitchell has anything with a heartbeat, because of his history of neglect and abuse,” says animal activist Linda Faso, who is once again asking animal groups to focus on Mitchell.

It boils down to this. Tigers and lions do not belong in tiny cages in a hot, dusty compound for the amusement of visitors just because Karl Mitchell can’t figure out any other way to make a living. Tigers and humans should not swim together, and if you think these wild animals can be trained to be perfectly safe, have a chat with Roy Horn. It is furthermore disgraceful to treat exotics this way, whether it’s tigers in Pahrump or elephants in a circus.

Mitchell was denied his conditional use permit because the commission deadlocked 3-3. How he could get three votes is befuddling, but it happened. He can appeal the vote in 30 days, though, the reality is, Mitchell doesn’t think he needs permission from Nye or anyone.

GEORGE KNAPP is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for KLAS Channel 8. Reach him at



Exotic animal owner applies for new tiger sanctuary permit


The Nye County Planning Department is recommending approval of Karl Mitchell’s request for a conditional use permit for an animal sanctuary for tigers at 6061 N. Woodchips Rd., which is up for consideration at the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission meeting today.

The planning department said the Nye County Code allows special conditions for animals and animal sanctuaries in a rural homestead zone with minimum 4.5 acre lots. The property owner is Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski, the parcel is 20 acres.

The planning department report said Nye County Animal Control inspected the premises and found the property to be secure.

Raymond and Rose Leach, of Phoenix, feel the sanctuary would have a negative impact on their vacant property down the street. They referred to the highly publicized incident last year where an exotic animal owner in Ohio committed suicide and let his wild animals run loose.

Walter Jervis, a property owner at 6101 N. Alanjay Ave., within the 300 foot notification area of the application, said: “does this imply that my property will be within an area that is now considered dangerous to children or pets? Will there be special provisions made to sequester the animals within the permit area that includes special fencing and noise abatement requirements? How does this affect the saleability of my property?”

Patsy Junker of Mesquite, who owns property at 5920 Acacia Ave., said the facility would depreciate her property so badly she could never sell it or live there.

The county zoning code requires animal sanctuaries to comply with all federal, state and county regulations; requires all animals to be treated in a humane manner; allows code compliance officers to enter the property when they have reason to believe the conditional use permit has been violated; requires the animals to be registered with Nye County Animal Control; requires permits from the Nevada Division of Wildlife or U.S. Department of Agriculture to be kept on file at the animal control office; and requires annual inspections by a national or regional organization or Nye County Animal Control.

The special conditions of approval require the sanctuary won’t be open to the public, with no exhibiting of animals on the premises. If that’s the case, Mitchell may want to update his Internet site for Big Cat Encounters. It advertises a “once in a lifetime, one-on-one personal encounter with one of the planet’s most powerful, precious and dangerous species.”

The advertisement was for Mitchell’s last compound with five acres of grassland on the south side of Pahrump. He listed eight tigers and a liger, a cross between a lion and tiger. The ad says visitors can pet the tigers, swim with them and romp with the baby tigers, who Mitchell said are as playful as kittens. He requested $500 donations for one person to interact with one of the tigers for an hour and $250 each for additional persons.

Mitchell was fined twice by the USDA for exhibiting animals without a license, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, for $27,500 in May 2001 and $68,625 in September 2010. During the later hearing, Administrative Law Judge Victor Palmer fined Mitchell for exhibiting tigers without sufficient space and barriers and refusing to allow his facilities to be inspected. The judge said Mitchell failed on 12 occasions to obey two cease and desist orders previously entered against him.

Mitchell claimed his Big Cat Encounters, which he described as an animal rescue organization, was exempt as a non-profit corporation. The federal judge disagreed and said they were being shown for compensation.

Mitchell has shown his baby tigers to everyone from attendees at a Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce function in February 2009 to a celebrity Paris Hilton reality show that June.

In December 2009 the RPC denied Mitchell a permit to keep seven Bengal tigers on Manse Road, in front of 90 people in the crowd.

If tonight’s meeting is a repeat of that RPC meeting, this last appearance featured supporters who talked about the unique experience of posing with tigers and workers who say they’ve never been injured. They were countered by neighbors who were afraid of their safety. Mitchell was criticized for inadequate fencing at that meeting, the RPC also received a petition with 87 signatures from Escapees Co-op RV Park opposing the conditional use permit.

In September 2010, Mitchell ended up in Pahrump Justice Court fighting eviction from a property on Homestead Road, just north of Terrible’s Lakeside Casino filed by Desert World Realty.

Still further back in history, Mitchell won a contract to operate the county animal control department in October 2000 after animal advocates were afraid the contract would go to an out-of-town company, Dewey Animal Care Center. But county commissioners repealed the contract eight months later, after Mitchell was arrested three times in one month.

Nine charges were dismissed against him, involving theft of animals and possession of a controlled substance. But Mitchell was eventually convicted in the theft of a GMC Suburban and accusations he stole $40,000 in three checks after he stopped operating the county animal control program. He served over two years in prison from July 2004 to September 2006.

While in prison, his exotic animals were seized and taken to an animal sanctuary in Texas.

Posted on13 June 2012.

By Mark Waite


Fined $68,625.00 by USDA in 2010


All Acting Animals (Mitchell, Karl) 
USDA License #88-C-0076
6941 Oakridge Rd., Pahrump, NV 89048

All Acting Animals has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed formal charges against All Acting Animals for chronic, serious violations that include failure to provide animals with drinking water, failure to provide wholesome, uncontaminated food, failure to provide shelter from the elements, failure to provide adequate space, and failure to maintain enclosures and for threatening and harassing USDA officials. The USDA has cited All Acting Animals for failure to provide veterinary care and for filthy and unsanitary conditions. Karl Mitchell has been arrested numerous times and charged with burglary, carrying loaded guns in public, assault, felony stalking, auto theft, and evading arrest. The California Fish and Game Department considers Mitchell a danger to both people and animals. Contact PETA for documentation.

Animals in 2010 inventory: 12 tigers, 2 ligers, a lion, a kangaroo, and a camel according to news reports and Mitchell’s statements.

July 8, 2011:  Karl Mitchell is still openly advertising on his website bigcatencounters that he will let anyone with pet a tiger for $500.00 per person per hour.  “Children welcome,” he claims.

September 17, 2010: Mitchell was ordered to leave the property by Justice of the Peace Gus Sullivan from Beatty as the result of an eviction proceeding in which he had failed to pay rent since June.

September 9, 2010:  Despite losing his USDA license, Karl Mitchell has been caught by USDA exhibiting in 2004, 2008, and 2009.  A federal judge finally fined him $68,625.00 and yet again issued a third cease and desist order demanding that he quit exhibiting big cats.

February 5, 2001: According to a KLAS-TV Las Vegas, Nevada, news report covering Mitchell’s controversial hiring as head of Nye County Animal Control, “California Fish and Game  has seized animals from Mitchell, denied him permits for others, and characterized him as ‘a dangerous person and a serious liability to any person or animal he’s involved with.’  [Mitchell has been arrested for] burglary, carrying loaded guns in public, [and] assault. In Nye County, he was busted a dozen times in just six years, for, among other things, pointing a loaded gun at a person and trying to intimidate witnesses. In a 1996 interview, Mitchell’s then-wife  said he started beating her shortly after they were married. The last time, he sent her to a hospital with broken ribs. Mitchell was busted in Clark County for felony stalking of his estranged wife.”

The newscast also stated that Clark County officials reported Mitchell had sewn shut a snake’s mouth using a needle and thread-and no anesthesia-to keep the animal’s mouth closed during use on a movie set.

January 18, 2001: The USDA filed charges against All Acting Animals for violating the Animal Welfare Act .  USDA investigators found that on several occasions, Mitchell had interfered with, threatened, abused, and harassed USDA officials in the performance of their duties. In addition, investigators have documented that Mitchell has failed to:

· allow officials access to his facilities, animals, and records
· maintain required records
· maintain enclosures
· adequately store supplies of food so as to protect them from deterioration or spoilage
· provide sufficient shade to protect animals from direct sunlight
· provide shelter from inclement weather
· house animals in outdoor facilities with a proper perimeter fence
· construct perimeter fencing that restricts the entrance of other animals
· provide animals with sufficient space in which to make normal postural and social adjustments
· provide food that was wholesome, palatable, and free of contamination
· provide animals with water as often as necessary for the health and comfort of the animal
· maintain an effective program for the control of pests
· properly clean and repair premises

September 14, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing adequate shelter from the elements, failure to repair enclosures and fences, and poor housekeeping.  The inspector discussed watering regulations after Mitchell stated that he withholds water as a training technique . This practice may lead to dehydration and cause serious damage to internal organs.  The USDA inspection team requested and received an escort from the Nye County sheriff’s office.

July 24, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing adequate shelter from the elements, failure to provide minimum space, failure to provide animals with drinking water, filthy conditions, and failure to repair enclosures and fences .  The inspector wrote, “Animals appeared crowded and unable to receive the exercise required for healthy young animals. . Several enclosures had a buildup of old, soiled, and damp straw bedding. . [A]ccess to residence was repeatedly denied by licensee, Karl Mitchell. When asked if animals were in the house, he stated that there were ‘no cats in the house that we want to see.'”

All Acting Animals was also cited for giving a kangaroo drinking water that was “totally fouled, red in color, and opaque.” The kangaroo enclosure had a buildup of fecal material and soiled straw. A young camel had no ventilated shade to provide relief from heat. All Acting Animals was cited for failure to provide wholesome, palatable, and uncontaminated food and failure to maintain records of acquisition and disposition.  The inspector also noted that Mitchell was instructed to remove a sign identifying the facility as a “USDA Government Facility.”  The USDA inspection team requested and received an escort from the Nye County sheriff’s office.

June 29, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of refusing access to the premises . The inspector wrote, “Mr. Mitchell denied access to his facility for an inspection on June 29, 2000. He did not provide a reason for not allowing us to inspect. He refused to sign the inspection report and walked away.”

May 16, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not providing animals with adequate shelter from the elements .
A lion named Nala was not provided minimum space. The inspector wrote, ” Enclosure has inadequate space as evidenced by poor coat condition and abnormal behavior patterns (i.e., stereotypic pacing) .”  The facility was cited for failure to provide animals with water. The inspector wrote, ” When released, [a tiger cub named Valentino] drank thirstily for several minutes .”  The USDA cited All Acting Animals for filthy conditions. The inspector found enclosures with a buildup of fecal material and old, soiled, and damp straw bedding.  All Acting Animals was also cited for failure to provide access to records, enclosures in disrepair, and improper food storage.

April 11, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing animals with adequate shelter from the elements and direct sunlight as well as for poor housekeeping .  All Acting Animals was also cited for unsanitary conditions and inadequate pest control.

January 20, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to have a responsible person available for inspection. The inspector noted, “Unauthorized public would have easy and immediate access to enclosures housing large exotic felids. . [I]nspector observed enclosures in disrepair and without adequate shelter.”

December 7, 1999: All Acting Animals was cited for failure to provide veterinary care to a lion with a weak and wobbly gait , failure to have a current veterinary care program, failure to maintain records of acquisition and disposition, failure to secure enclosures to prevent unauthorized access, improperly constructed enclosures, failure to provide shelter from the elements, inadequate perimeter fencing, failure to provide a veterinarian-approved diet, and poor housekeeping.

January 7, 1999: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to have a local veterinarian and failure to provide minimum space to a tiger named Diva.

September 9, 1998: AWA Docket No. 97-0028.  Decision and Order filed September 9, 1998.  in re: KARL MITCHELL d/b/a ALL ACTING ANIMALS.  Cease and Desist Order – Civil Penalty – Filing License Application and PVC Form Falsely Purporting to be Signed by Applicant and Veterinarian.  Chief Administrative LawJudge Victor W. Palmer found that Respondent violated the Animal Welfare Act and a regulation issued pursuant thereto by submitting a license application and a Program of Veterinary Care form (PVC) which were purportedly signed by the applicant for the license and the veterinarian who completed the PVC form, which instead had been signed by the Respondent. Chief Judge Palmer imposed a $750.00 civil penalty and a cease and desist order. In determining the penalty, Chief Judge Palmer noted that the violation did not endanger the welfare of animals and was unlikely to recur.  Donald A. Tracy, for Complainant.  Benjamin Zvenia, Las Vegas, NV, for Respondent.  Decision and Order issued by Victor IV Palmer. Chief Administrative Law Judge.  For the reasons hereinafter stated, an order is being issued requiring Respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act and the regulations and assessing a civil penalty of $750.00.

June 30, 1998: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct the previously identified violations of not properly disposing of food and animal waste and poor housekeeping .
All Acting Animals was also cited for using soiled bedding material, enclosures in need of repair, and a cluttered food preparation area.

May 13, 1996: All Acting Animals was cited by the USDA for giving animals contaminated drinking water in dirty receptacles, filthy enclosures littered with several days of feces and food waste , failure to adequately train employees, failure to make transport enclosures, program of veterinary care, and acquisition and disposition records available for inspection, inadequate pest control, and grounds and food storage area scattered with trash.

August 3, 1993: The USDA sent certified mail to All Acting Animals cautioning the facility that its repeated failure to construct a perimeter fence could result in legal action.

August 1, 1993: According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal , Mitchell acquired two “liger” (tiger and lion crossbreed) cubs from Jordan Circus after they were born on the road. Mitchell claimed that the cubs make “good pets.”

July 13, 1993: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not constructing a perimeter fence . The facility was also cited for improper fencing and fencing in disrepair, algae buildup in the tigers’ water receptacle, and poor housekeeping.

July 11, 1990: According to the Las Vegas Sun , Karl Mitchell stored a 5-year-old tiger in a garage for nearly three months. Mitchell was asked to remove the tiger when he failed to provide proof of insurance to the owner of the garage. The tiger was relocated to a bookmobile.

June 24, 1985: The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Following a wild chase, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies booked Karl Mitchell, 33, for investigation of evading arrest, assault against an officer, auto theft, possession of a concealed weapon, damaging a state vehicle, and possessing a tiger without a permit.” 

Check for yourself to see if they meet the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge.


Mitchell faces USDA fine, eviction

Posted on 24 September 2010 By MARK WAITE

Shaquille the Leopard Was Beaten in the Face by Mitchell

Shaquille the Leopard Was Beaten in the Face by Mitchell

Pahrump exotic animal owner Karl Mitchell, owner of Big Cat Encounters, has been battling the law on the federal and local level recently.

Last month, Victor Palmer, an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, slapped $68,625 in fines and a cease and desist order on Mitchell for exhibiting his animals in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

Now Mitchell is fighting eviction in Pahrump Justice Court at his latest home on Homestead Road, just north of Terrible’s Lakeside Casino.

Palmer’s order, following a hearing in Las Vegas in April, fined Mitchell for exhibiting tigers for compensation without a license, exhibiting the tigers to the public without sufficient space and barriers for the public and refusing to allow his facilities to be inspected by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service APHIS.

The judge said Mitchell also failed on 12 occasions to obey two cease and desist orders previously entered against him by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The USDA revoked Mitchell’s Animal Welfare Act license in 2001, and levied a $16,775 penalty following a cease and desist order. Mitchell continued to violate the order, exhibiting tigers in 2004, 2008 and 2009, the USDA said, including a tiger brought to a Paris Hilton reality show in June 2009. People were allowed to pet the tigers tethered to a chain for a fee, but it wasn’t separated by a barrier.

Mitchell claimed Big Cat Encounters, as an animal rescue organization, was exempt as a non-profit corporation. The federal judge disagreed, saying the exhibition of his animals to the public was for compensation.

The judge cited a case involving The International Siberian Tiger Foundation, which illustrated the dangers of allowing the public to come in close proximity to tigers, even when they are declawed, chained and controlled by two trainers. In that case numerous people were bitten, one person required 50 stitches.

On this third cease and desist order against Mitchell, it includes for the first time his organization, Big Cat Encounters. But the judge fined Mitchell half of the maximum penalty for handling violations, since no one was hurt. He also assessed half the penalty for failing to allow an inspection of his facilities, since there was no evidence of mistreatment of the animals.

A sentence of $1,500 was levied for each of the 12 occasions when Mitchell failed to obey previous cease and desist orders.

USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said Mitchell has yet to pay the fine. Mitchell appealed the decision Sept. 9; the Pahrump Valley Times filed a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of his appeal.

In an e-mail response, Mitchell said: “The USDA was seeking $1.5 million in fines. So the government overreached by 98 percent. The rest is up for appeal. The USDA has not replied, so we shall see.”

Nye County has also been dealing with Mitchell.

In December, Mitchell was denied a conditional use permit to keep seven Bengal tigers at his sanctuary on Manse Road by the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission.

Neighbor Gene Lovas, in a letter to the editor, said he was startled after Thanksgiving 2009 to find the most dangerous animals on the planet were being kept in his neighborhood. Doug Howard, president of Escapees Co-op RV Park, presented petitions with 87 signatures opposing the permit.

Desert World Realty filed an affidavit to evict Mitchell from his latest residence on Homestead Road Aug. 27.

According to justice court minutes, the landlord testified at a Sept. 13 hearing Mitchell signed a six-month lease Feb. 5 and was given a $5,000 credit to fix up the property. Mitchell also agreed to get a conditional use permit allowing him to keep his big cats on the property, but failed to do so. The landlord also complained Mitchell hasn’t paid rent since June 1.

The Nye County Code Compliance Department has an open case on Mitchell’s Homestead Road property.

Mitchell was ordered to leave the property by Sept. 17 by visiting Justice of the Peace Gus Sullivan from Beatty, according to court minutes.

Mitchell filed a motion to stay the eviction Sept. 17, pending a hearing last Monday, the minutes state.

During the latest hearing on Monday, Mitchell told Pahrump Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson he didn’t have the money to move numerous big cats, but will be receiving money for the airing of a television program within 30 days.

“Mr. Mitchell stated he has located a place to rent but does not have the money to move unless the landlord returns the $8,700 owed for the repairs,” the court minutes state.

Exotic animal owners Zuzana Kukol and Scott Shoemaker, 1211 Arnold Ct., who have drawn praise from officials for their elaborate shelters housing lions and tigers on the northwest side of Pahrump, complained to Nye County Commissioners Tuesday about a rezoning that will bring a new road close to their cages.

The commission approved a zone change of 80 acres from an RE-2 zone to RE-1 at 4751 W. Adkisson Street and a tentative map application to subdivide it into 50 residential lots and 10 open space lots for the Sunset Valley Subdivision.

The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission recommended approval Aug. 11, on the grounds the project complied with the Pahrump master plan. Previously, a landowner was given a conditional use permit to house up to 12 exotic animals on this property in March 2009, but the RPC cancelled it on June 9, 2010.

A special condition was imposed by the RPC to require the developer to disclose to any lot buyer there are special condition animals in close proximity to the subdivision.

Mitchell to appear of Animal Planet TV

Exotic animal owner Karl Mitchell will be featured on one of the episodes of a five-part series on The Animal Planet television network entitled “Fatal Attractions.”

The series debuts at 9 p.m. Oct. 8. A description of the series on The Animal Planet website states the series shares cautionary tales of people who live with wild, exotic animals, despite the often deadly consequences.

The advance on the series states Mitchell, a Vietnam veteran and professional exotic, wild animal trainer for years no longer considered it just his job, but began interacting with tigers on an intensely personal level.

“They’re deadly, yes,” Mitchell said. “But they keep me going.”

Mitchell told the network the tigers help relieve him from the anxiety he still suffers from serving in combat in the Vietnam War.

The series includes a woman who brought a lion and tiger cub to her Harlem apartment and was nearly killed. A 74-year-old woman who was killed by her collection of bears is profiled.

(If you saw the Fatal Attractions piece, then you saw Karl Mitchell punching the big cats in the nose to subdue them.)


Karl Mitchell / All Acting Animals big cats go to San Antonio

By Angie Wagner


1:37 p.m. March 2, 2005


PAHRUMP, Nev. – Down a quiet gravel road lined by homes, six tigers and two leopards live amid the roosters and cats in a small back yard. They are hungry and dirty, and their owner can no longer care for them.

Carol Asvestas is tired of seeing the same scene played out across the country. Big cats are taken in as pets or kept in so-called sanctuaries, but then are neglected by owners who become overwhelmed.

Many big cats, like the ones here, will end up with Asvestas at her San Antonio , Texas , Wild Animal Orphanage.

Animal protection groups want private ownership of big cats outlawed. They say that with an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 large cats kept as pets in the United States , the problem is out of control.

Just last week, authorities shot and killed a 425-pound tiger that had been roaming the hills near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Los Angeles . Where it came from and who owned it is unknown.

State laws vary on owning exotic animals such as tigers, wolves and alligators. Just 14 ban private ownership altogether; eight have a partial ban on some species, 13 states regulate exotic animals and 15 states, including Nevada, have no regulations of many exotic animals, according to the Animal Protection Institute.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires licenses for exhibitors, dealers and researchers, but not private owners keeping a big cat as a pet.

“It’s a huge public safety risk that is 100 percent preventable,” said Dr. Kim Haddad, a veterinarian and manager of the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, made up of more than 20 animal protection groups, sanctuaries and zoos.

“The solution is so easy. You just cannot have these animals as pets.”

Sure, tiger cubs are cute and cuddly. But when they reach 600 pounds and eat 20 pounds of meat a day, owners often find themselves in over their heads. And it’s often Asvestas who comes in to help.

Such was the case in Pahrump, a dusty desert town near the California border, where a woman decided she couldn’t care for her back yard tigers and leopards anymore. One pet leopard was quarantined after it bit off the tip of the woman’s finger last week.

Asvestas and the International Fund for Animal Welfare organized a rescue mission Tuesday, at the owner’s request. She and helpers tranquilized, then loaded the skinny and mangy cats one by one into a trailer for the trip to Texas . There, they will be among 700 animals, 200 of them big cats. In the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson on Wednesday, the group collected two tigers, three lions and four wolves from another private owner.

Animal groups cite numerous incidents of big cats getting loose or harming someone.

– A 600-pound tiger belonging to a former Tarzan actor escaped in Florida and sent authorities on a 26-hour hunt before the tiger was shot and killed last July. The state does not monitor the keeping of exotic animals as pets.

– A 10-year-old boy at a relative’s house in North Carolina was killed by a tiger that pulled him inside its cage in December 2003. The next month, a tiger mauled a 14-year-old girl taking pictures in a tiger’s cage at her father’s farm. There is no state law about owning exotic animals.

– In April 2003, authorities found 58 dead tiger cubs stuffed into freezers, 30 dead adult tigers, and two alligators in a bathtub at a California home. California has one of the strictest exotic pet laws in the nation, but critics say enforcement is a problem.

– Pet owner Antoine Yates was bitten on the leg in 2003 by the pet tiger he kept in his New York apartment, a building where children also lived. New York now bans possession of many wild animals, though it doesn’t apply to current owners.

The popularity of owning big cats prompted Congress to pass a law in 2003 that makes it illegal to sell or ship lions, tigers and other big cats across state lines without permits. But animal welfare groups want an outright ban, saying the 5,000 to 7,000 privately owned tigers probably exceed the total number in the wild.

“It is an odd phenomenon where people are setting up, essentially, personal zoos,” said Chris Cutter, spokesman for the IFAW. “For some people, it’s a status thing.”

The call for an end to private ownership is not unanimous. Patti Strand, president of the National Animal Interest Alliance, said her organization supports regulation of exotic pet owners, but said people who can handle the animals should be able to have them.

“There is a growing body of animal groups that do nothing but exploit rather than try to solve problems because there are fund-raising dollars to be made by the sensationalism that goes along with that,’ she said.

The tigers in Pahrump, kept in cages behind a tan-colored trailer home, were part of a defunct animal sanctuary, said Steven A. Benson, who identified himself as a board member.

“There’s just too many cats to take care of,” Benson said. “It’s overwhelming.”

Animal groups say many big cat owners set up as a nonprofit sanctuary as a front to get money and really aren’t capable of caring for the animals.

“You have a lot of facilities out there who call themselves sanctuaries or rescue facilities,” Haddad said. “For the most part, a lot of these people, these animals are their pets and they keep collecting them.”

Big cats kept and bred in captivity can never be released in the wild because their fear of man is gone, and often their genetics are upset through inbreeding. As long as animals are kept in back yards, Asvestas will likely keep getting calls.

“I get tired,” she said. “I can’t take them all. We just turned down five animals last week.”

EDITOR’S NOTE – Angie Wagner is the AP’s Western regional writer, based in Las Vegas .



Big Cat Rescue Note:

Shaquille, the black leopard and Dara, the cougar were rescued from Karl Mitchell many years ago.  They had been beaten unmercifully and Dara (who is gone now) had a brain infection from the severity of her blows to the skull.  For years when we would tell people about Shaq’s story people would ask, “Why can’t someone shut him down!”  It wasn’t until the owner was sent to jail for stealing a car that anything could be done to save the animals.


March 4, 2005

Exotic animals in town rescued




Norma Lagutchik of Animal Sanctuary of the United States helps Chuck Tay and Trey Alecio (not pictured) carry a sedated tiger to a trailer designed to transport the big cats from the far western Pahrump compound of Karl Mitchell, now imprisoned on theft charges.

Karl Mitchell, the former Pahrump and Amargosa Valley animal control contractor, might still be in the pen but the tigers and leopards he kept for years at a compound in extreme western Pahrump were freed Tuesday, in a sense, when members of the Animal Sanctuary of the United States arrived to haul off six tigers and two leopards to the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio.

According to Josephine Martell, Sandy Allman contacted the group last week and asked for assistance. Martell said the exotic cats were living in deplorable conditions.

Martell, a captive wild animal specialist with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said Allman, who last week had the tip of her index finger bit off by a leopard, had tried in vain to care for the tigers, but “she was barely hanging on. The animals hadn’t seen a vet in more than a year. They were covered in feces and had urine burns … the conditions were just really filthy.”

One of Allman’s neighbors called the newspaper Tuesday to say he was happy the cats were being taken away, but fretted over the large number of dogs still on the property. “They are all in bad shape,” said the man, who spoke on condition his name not be used. “They’ve been hauling stuff to the dump for days now, but that place is in bad shape. What are they going to do about the dogs?” Allman is Mitchell’s former partner.

Mitchell is one of Nye County ‘s more controversial characters. He is now in prison following a theft conviction last year related to a Suburban he failed to return to the dealership after its lease expired and he awaits sentencing on additional theft charges after he cashed three checks totaling more than $40,000. The checks were mistakenly sent to Mitchell after Nye County Commissioners terminated his animal control contract in 2000.

In 2001 the United States Department of Agriculture revoked Mitchell’s All Acting Animals license to own exotic cats after it was determined he didn’t provide minimal care per federal standards.

Where they are going is going to seem like heaven. According to Martell the Wild Animal Orphanage will treat and “immediately vet” the cats, they will be put on a diet and will see a veterinarian regularly. “It’s a big, natural habitat,” Martell said of the orphanage. “There will be no contact with humans, and they’ll be neutered so no breeding, but they will be able to live out their lives in peace.”

Martell said the no breeding rule is included in sanctuary standards, and is used to spot illegitimate sanctuaries that would exploit the animals for profit.

“After getting the tigers and leopards from All Acting Animals some much-needed veterinary care, I greatly look forward to releasing them in to spacious, naturalistic enclosures,” stated Carol Asvestas , executive director of the Wild Animal Orphanage.

Martell said the group was at Betty Honn’s Animal Adoption Ltd. in Henderson on Wednesday to rescue eight tigers, three lions, two leopards, four wolves, and four monkeys. The taking was necessary, said Martell, in light of Honn’s death and the subsequent insolvency of her sanctuary.

The leopard that bit Allman last week remains penned up on the Pahrump property. It is in quarantine.

To: National Desk

Contact: Chris Cutter, 508-737-4623 or , Kerry Branon, 508-744-2068 or , both of the International Fund for Animal Welfare

YARMOUTH PORT , Mass. , March 1 / U.S. Newswire/ — Thirteen big cats and their neighbors will be safer thanks to the help of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – Over the next two days, an IFAW-funded sanctuary, the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) is moving three lions, two leopards, four wolves and eight tigers from two separate homes near Las Vegas to a suitable sanctuary in Texas .

“Keeping lions and tigers as pets is a growing phenomenon that is causing a huge public safety and animal welfare issue,” said IFAW’s Josephine Martell, “It’s a bad idea for animals and people.”

The number of Americans keeping tigers and other big cats as pets continues to grow. IFAW estimates that there are 10,000 tigers being kept as pets in the U.S. , double the amount left living in the wild in the entire world. Since 1990, tigers have killed 11 people and injured 60 others. Just last week, a tiger escaped and was roaming the neighborhoods of Ventura County , near Los Angeles before it was shot and killed by authorities.

“Many of the animals are living in filthy conditions. They are malnourished, without water and standing in their own excrement in cages that are too small,” WAO’s Carole Asvestas said. “With IFAW’s help, we will provide them with the care and facilities they deserve.”

Across the country, legislators have realized that private ownership of dangerous animals is a national public safety threat. State legislation is currently being considered across the country including Washington , Maryland , Arkansas , Iowa , Ohio and Missouri . Although the passage of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act outlawed the selling and shipping of big cats across state lines without permit, there is no federal ban against owning a tiger, lion or another big cat as a pet.


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Posted on Nov 12, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Billie Swamp Safari

We get countless complaints about Billie Swamp Safari in Florida, but it appears to be on an Indian reservation and thus is not regulated by the USDA nor the Florida Wildlife Commission.  Please do not patronize this place because doing so just adds to the misery.

Billie Swamp Safari
Seminole Tribe of Florida
30000 Gator Tail Trail
Clewiston, FL 33440

Here is the most recent complaint:

November 12, 2015

No protection from the heat (91 degrees on Sunday, 11/8/15)

Animals involved:  Grizzly bear, FL black bear, large parrots, Lynx, porcupine, deer, Florida Panther, alligators, tortoises, and etc.

I did not see any pans of water in the cages/pens.

The panther paced back and forth continuously, hissed and growled the entire time.

The enclosures are small, provide no underbrush to hide in, and just clay on the ground.

The bears wanted to get out. It was so apparent.

I am not sure who they are getting the animals from, but, the individual answering questions said they intended to “keep them forever.”

They are getting them from somewhere in Miami.  (Our guess would be the Zoological Wildlife Foundation)

It was blazing hot heat the day we were there. We had NO idea they had started collecting and caging animals. I will never go back.

The porcupine had a plastic blue drum turned sideways to find shelter from the 91 degree sun. It must have been 120 degrees inside the small drum.

All of the animals were panting. It was horrible to see.

The caller contacted USDA and FWC and here was their response:

The FWC informed me that with it being on an indian reservation and sovereign land, they have no jurisdiction to take any action.  Neither does the USDA.  He did say that he knew a couple of people out there and he could make some ‘calls’ to gently relay the concerns that had been reported.  Other than that he said there is really nothing they can do and it, unfortunately, is one of those sticky situations.
I asked him if there was anything else I could do.  He said that the action I took was really all that I could do.
So, there you have it.  Humans treating wildlife inappropriately that claim their history has taught them to live off the land and to treat it and the animals that live there (after all – THE ANIMALS were there before the indians!) with respect.  I do not call that respect.  The most I can do is discourage people from going there and I will never go there again myself.


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Posted on Nov 9, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Mike Bester

Animal Trader Mike Bester


Mike Bester trading in wild caught primates:

The millionaire private animal collector in Vietnam, Mr Than sourced his rhinos and tigers to be exported from Mike Bester in South Africa. Bester runs a small zoo in Pretoria ( which has been described by one visitor as “shocking conditions and very unsafe” on and he also has an export company “specializing in the international translocation of non-domestic animals and birds”. – See more at:

The shipper’s name is listed as “Bester Birds & Animals Zoo Park CC”; the veterinarian listed in the handling information section of the waybill is perhaps coincidentally the same name as the veterinarian mentioned in this controversial rhino tragedy; and the receiving information says “Vinh Phu-CMT Joint Stock Corporation” in Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh City.

An investigative source noted recently that rhinos were expected to arrive in Vietnam from South Africa, and there is concern that a “rhino horn farming” scheme may be developing.

2014 News on Mike Bester Trading in White Tigers

The animals comprise a couple – a male and female rare White Bengal Tigers, one orange coloured tiger, one female white lioness and another female normal coloured lioness. Newsday,192293.html

It is interesting to note that “Bester Birds and Animals Zoo Park of Pretoria” does not list African lions/Bengal Tigers as species they exhibit. In fact, this ‘zoo’ is merely a large pet store/breeding facility.

2014 News on Mike Bester Trading in White Rhinos

PRETORIA – A businessman and the owner of a zoo in Pretoria has sold six white rhino to a conservancy in Miami, Florida, on the east coast of United States of America (USA).  The seller, Mr Mike Bester, is the founder of Bester Birds and Animal Zoo Park in Pretoria. He is a member of the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA). Bester said the sale was part of a conservation project to support the species’ survival. The buyer was the Centre for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates (CCTU) in Miami, Florida.  This appears to be a breeding farm for roadside zoos that operate under the banner of ZAA.

2010 Rhino Scandal

“Alongside Decai, wildlife agency Bester Birds is listed as exporting 24 live rhino, and dealer Jimmy Magill six. Both Magill and Mike Bester denied any wrongdoing, insisting their exports were vetted and permitted.”

Cheetahs Traded by Mike Bester

Cheetahs exported to Chinese horror park

The Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) December 10, 1999

By Fiona Macleod

Johannesburg -Six cheetahs from the De Wildt Cheetah Research and Breeding ‘:entre, oDe of South Africa’s most reputable breeding centres of endangered species, were exported this week to a s;lfari park in China that has been universally condemned by animal welf are organisations. John Wedderburn, ofthe Asian Animal Protection Network, describes arecent visit to the XiIi Lake Safari Park in Southern China: “The elephants have a large paddock but are kept chained in a corner and are made to do demeaning tricks. “When we approached the hippopotamus pool, the keepers beat the animals with bamboo poles to force them out ofthe water so we could see them better.

“There are regular performance shows in a big arena, but the worst feature is the photography area: a drugged, declawed, de-toothed tiger is struck on the mouth to make him snarl while the client sits beside him looking triumphant; a bear is made to stand up and snarl by the owner pulling a string that goes over a pulley and down to a ring in his tipper lip; a terrified deer is held down while children sit on it.”

Live domestic animals are red to tigers, under the pretence that ibis keeps them vrild. But the welf are organisations say they are never retumed to the wild, and even if they were they would be shot because they have developed a taste für livestock. Wedderburn says at least six major international animal welf are organisations have visited the park in recent years and condemned it.

They called für a boycott of the park by tourists and travel agents in 1997 after newspaper reports about ill-treatment of the animals.

De Wildt sold the six young cheetahs to Pretoria wildlife trader Mike Bester about a month ago, and they were shipped out last Fnday.

De Wildt’s director, Anne van Dijk, says they fetched a price of about $4,500 each.

Cheetahs are listed as highly endangered, but when they are bred in captivity the normal regulations that apply to endangered species are relaxed. South African animal welfare organisations expressed concern this week at the involvement of a reputable centre like De Wildt in the growing weekly shipments ofwildlife from this country to China. They point out that although China recently signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it has no animal welfare laws like those in South Africa. Van Dijk says she was aware the cheetahs were going to the XiIi Lake park, but she knew nothing about its notoriety before they were sent there.


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Posted on Nov 9, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Customer No: 324586
Certificate No: 48-C-0156
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Jul 29, 2010
1037 So 183rd St W

USDA Citations Against Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Unsafe caging for jaguars and improper food storage Sept. 2015

Unsafe barriers, rusty cages, jagged edges in cages, unsupervised contact between a lemur and an infant who had been left unattended in a stroller, and dilapidated perimeter fencing.


Tanganyika Wildlife Park Opposing Bills to Protect Wild Animals


Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a ZAA (Zoological Association of America) facility run by Jim and / or Matt Fouts; probably because they started ZAA in its latest iteration, along with Lex Salisbury, who had lost his AZA accreditation while running Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.  Creating an “accrediting” body, with a confusingly similar name, just undermines real accreditation standards.

It’s believed they were a driving factor in getting their state to pass a bill that allows cub handling, quoting: “The park is all about interaction but we always do it in a safe manner and this bill is going to allow us to use those cubs to create an awesome experience for the public, so that they can further connect with those animals,” said Matt Fouts, assistant director for Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard.

This article says Matt Fouts helped start the ZAA, which is one of the loudest opponents to the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

It looks like legitimate AZA zoos have found a willing buyer at Tanganyika Wildlife Park for rare cats.

Jim Fouts defended the dentist who killed Cecil in this blog post saying: “Outraged animal rights organizations such as PETA think this dentist should be hanged, and all hunting in Zimbabwe should be suspended. Several misguided airlines such as Delta, American, and United quickly reacted to the PC crowd have said they will no longer fly big five trophies from Africa. This action is symptomatic of just what is wrong in the US and the world. The airlines chose to instantly take action in order to please a vocal minority rather than consider the potential cause and effect of their actions.”

Tanganyika Wildlife Park removed this post from their site. They appear to clearly oppose anyone who would reign in the animal abuse. This is from google’s cache:

HSUS: A Plan for Our Future?


Their commercials have a way of tugging at our heartstrings, but the majority of the general public doesn’t know the real agenda of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This organization is actively trying to shut down zoos – like Tanganyika – across the country. Tanganyika’s Director, Jim Fouts, is aiding the fight against anti-zoo legislation in several states. In a recent article, Laurella Desborough detailed the agenda of HSUS, and some of it might surprise you.

If you care about animal welfare as much as we do, please consider donating to your local Humane Society – these local organizations receive little (or no) funding from HSUS and they do the real work of caring for homeless pets. Visit the Kansas Humane Society’s website to learn more about how you can help pets in our area. Or check out our Adopt and Animal page here for ways you can help the animals at Tanganyika and wildlife around the world.

By Laurella Desborough

As published in the Avicultural Society of America Avicultural Bulletin July/August 2014 Volume 82, number 4

Who are these two percenters and what is it they plan to win? Well, they are the radical animal rights individuals in the U.S. You know, the ones who lead HSUS and PETA and ELF and ALF, and Animal Defense League, etc. Sometimes they actually put forward their agenda for their followers, and we get to read it. Below is an example which I copied, word for word, from the U.S. Federal Register, as follows:

Comment from Markie Patterson (Document ID: APHIS-2011-0003-3677
Document Type: Public Submission
This is comment on Proposed Rule: Animal Welfare; Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions
Docket ID: APHIS-2011-0003 RIN: 0579-AD57
Topics: No Topics associated with this document
View document:
The HSUS animal rights goals requires the end to all breeding of all animals. We are 2% of the population and our goals will be met. Go Sarah L. Conant
1. Abolish by law all animal research. 2. Outlaw the use of animals for cosmetic and product testing, classroom demonstration and in weapons development.
3. Vegetarian meals should be made available at all public institutions, including schools.
4. Eliminate all animal agriculture. 5. No herbicides, pesticides or other agricultural chemicals. Outlaw predator control.
6. Transfer enforcement of animal welfare legislation away from the Department of Agriculture.
7. Eliminate fur ranching and the use of furs.
8. Prohibit hunting, trapping and fishing.
9. End the international trade in wildlife goods.
10. Stop any further breeding of companion animals, including purebred dogs and cats. Spaying and neutering should be subsidized by state and municipal governments. Abolish commerce in animals for the pet trade.
11. End the use of animals in entertainment and sports.
12. Prohibit the Genetic Manipulation of Species. Make this rule change and we can fulfill our goals. It is better to be dead than suffer as a slave to humans. end quote from Federal Register.

Now, let’s take a look at this agenda…because many of the items will affect most of us. First, note that the comment mentions Sarah L. Conant…who happens to be working in the enforcement division of APHIS-USDA and who is a strong supporter of HSUS with a background in law. A young woman with a long life ahead of her and the possibility of having a great effect on many many decisions about animals. She is not the only one who is a strong supporter of HSUS and the radical animal rights agenda. Apparently three animal rights supporters have been identified as working in USFWS. And, we know that Lois Lerner in the IRS, (who recently was under scrutiny by Congress), is a very strong supporter of HSUS. Apparently she managed to ignore the thousands of complaints about the HSUS and their lobbying for laws at state and
federal level, while enjoying non-profit tax status. Placing dedicated active animal rights advocates in critical positions in state and federal agencies is one method the animal rights use to gain their goals.

The first agenda item proposing to abolish all animal research is truly outrageous, since the majority of important discoveries for human health have been made using animals. This continues to be the case. Note that about 98 percent of animals used in research are mice and rats. However, animal rights generally portray this research as being conducted on dogs, cats, and primates. In any case, without ongoing research using animals, many new positive discoveries to improve human health would not be possible.

Outlawing the use of animals in product testing is also a problem. The use of animals is the first step in testing for many types of products, whether it is for prescription drugs, chemicals used in homes and farms, or for classroom demonstrations. I well remember working with dead cats in zoology classes. Feral cats are being euthanized because they are invasive species. Using them in the classroom provides real life examples that cannot be adequately done by computer modeling, since actual bodies do vary in many ways from a model.

Making vegetarian meals available is fine, unless they are the ONLY choices that diners have. But item four indicates that is the point, since the proposal is to eliminate ALL animal agriculture. That means no meat,no milk, no cheese, no eggs, and on and on. It would also mean the complete extinction of all domestic farm animals since they would have no use and thus would not be maintained. Lest we forget, farm animals do provide another service that is not mentioned by the animal rights people. Farm animals provide a huge amount of fertilizer for the fields where grains and other plant foods are grown!!! So, no more fertilizer either.

But what does the elimination of meat from the diet actually mean? Quote:

Scientists at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain – with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage. The study involved tests and brain scans on community-dwelling volunteers aged 61 to 87 years without cognitive impairment at enrollment, over a period of five years. When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage.It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12. Vegans were the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

The elimination of all herbicides and pesticides could have a devastating effect on the human race. Think of eliminating the chemical Deet from use to manage mosquitoes when we are having new cases of dengue, malaria, West Nile virus and other diseases spread by mosquitoes. Outlawing predator control would also mean that when there is a huge over population of bears and cougars and wolves and coyotes, that there would be no means of addressing that problem!

And here is one proposal that is already happening…and bound to have some very negative consequences; the proposal is to transfer enforcement of animal welfare legislation away from the Department of Agriculture! The Department of Agriculture is the agency with the expertise in dealing with animals. This move would make it easier for the animal rights ideologues to influence the handling of animal issues.
Eliminating fur ranching and the use of furs perhaps would not affect millions of individuals, but it would affect some and it is an assault on the freedom of choice of individuals who may want to use fur in some manner or other.

Prohibiting hunting, trapping and fishing would have widespread consequences for our food supply and for elimination of animals that are over populating their environment. While not everyone in the US is hunting animals for food, some people do hunt animals for food. Then there is fish. Most everyone in the US does eat fish either routinely or on occasion, since fish provides many important nutrients to our diet. Eliminating the use of fish for food would have a serious effect on the health and welfare of the population.

Ending the international trade in wildlife goods for those in the US would not make much difference as most do not participate in the trade. However, for those of us who may want to import birds or animals, that would no longer be possible. No more imported softbills, pheasants, or wildlife for zoo exhibits, or even for conservation breeding and research.

Now here is a proposal that would hit home with almost every US citizen; stop all breeding of companion animals. You got that. ALL COMPANION ANIMALS! And they make a point of including purebred dogs and cats, which of course would include service animals, hunting hounds, search and rescue animals, and of course, all of our canaries, budgies and parrots. This is the point we need to make with all our family members, all our friends and neighbors. We need to keep pointing out that the HSUS and their ilk are trying to take away ALL our pets!

Of course, we might expect the animal rights folks would want to end the use of animals in entertainment and sports. In this case they are of course including zoos and marine world and any activities involving animals, such as horse racing, rodeos, or hunting with dogs. We can see they are working on that right now, with the promotion of the film Blackfish which casts SeaWorld as the bad guys for using orcas in their shows. They call this abuse. The facts don’t matter and the film has been documented as being full of misinformation and outright deception.

Lastly the animal rights cult followers want to eliminate all genetic manipulation of species. Consider that the reason we have the many types of poultry, pigeons, horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, dogs, and cats, is due to breeding for specific traits, which is genetic manipulation.
And the reason for all these proposed ideas by the animal rights radicals? Well, the last sentence in the comment tells us why they want to do these things. Quote: It is better to be dead than suffer as a slave to humans. end quote

That should tell us a lot about these radicals. They have a belief system that is so powerful they cannot consider ANY animal use as being good for the animals or for the human race. Now, that is their belief and they want to IMPOSE that belief on the rest of us in the USA. Consider again, they are only TWO PERCENT of the population and they want their ideas to control the other 98 percent, which is you and me and the many individuals we know who love our birds and animals, who enjoy meat and fish for food, who enjoy the zoo and like the idea of conservation of wildlife. The animal rights cultists don’t even want to conserve wildlife! They actually don’t seem to like animals. They just want to USE animals as their means of controlling the rest of us.

Because these animal rights radicals are making some headway in the US with their agenda, last year getting hundreds of laws passed in many states, it is extremely important that everyone who reads this article makes a point of educating family members, neighbors, friends, and the media when the opportunity appears. We need to educate everyone about this extremely dangerous agenda which would forever change our society, and not for the better. Not only would we lose our birds and animals, but even our health would be at risk due to the change of diet, the lack of new medical research and adequate testing of prescription drugs. This is a very very serious matter on which we all need to take action at every opportunity before we lose more freedoms regarding animals.

The rant above, against animal welfare organizations, shows the true intent of those behind Tanganyika Wildlife Park and the ZAA.

2015 Census

Note the USDA rarely actually counts animals.  They base this on the honor system of the person they are inspecting.


This feel good video makes people think that taking animals from the wild and sending them to cages in Kansas is helping conservation.

White lions are only produced through excessive inbreeding, so anyone who knows anything about conservation knows you would never breed white lions for any sort of conservation program.  It seems the crew at IAG/British Airway have no idea that they are assisting in the proliferation of big cats in cages in America by dealing with a known animal trader like Mike Bester in the video.

Can anyone tell me if the cubs in the video above came from the facility below?


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Posted on Nov 8, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Steve Provost

Steve Provost

Provost serves as ringmaster for Kifaru Exotics Auction

Customer No: 15284
Certificate No: 74-B-0524
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Apr 27, 2005
HARPER ,TX 78631

He has come to the attention of this site after allegedly buying Fishing cats and Geoffroy cats at the Lolli Brother’s auction for the purpose of breeding and sale.  These fishing cats were offered for sale, on a site Steve Provost frequents, called


The likely seller was, Kellie Caron Raegan, of Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center located at 74320 Larson Road Ranier, OR, which is a pay to play scheme that charges visitors to handle captive wild animals.


Records can only be found going back to 2012 but in that time Steve Provost has been cited by USDA for filthy piles of manure laden blankets, failure to provide enrichment to primates, failure to provide fencing and safe barricades to protect the animals and the public, and failure to have a responsible adult on property, among others.




Steve Provost is listed as the ring master for the Kifaru exotic animal auction at 10831 South Highway 183 Lampasas, Texas 76550.  Kifaru is owned by Jurgen Schulz who formed J.C. Schulz Inc., an exotic fauna collection firm, one of the nation’s largest exotic animal dealers, in 1975. In addition to Kifaru, which he opened in 1996, he also owns an exotic game ranch (read canned hunt in most cases) in Lampasas. The Schulz family website boasts that they have captured live wild animals to be hunted by the wealthy or used in zoos since  1898.

The “Mutual of Omaha” African shows were actual capture scenes of Jurgen Schulz’s projects. During these days, Jurgen became friends with Mutual’s star, Jim Fowler. (You thought you were watching wild animals get vet care, but in fact you were watching animals being stolen from their families, and their homes, to be shot in cages, or held prisoners for the rest of their lives) In later years, the two opened a zoo together near Washington D.C.

The Schulz Company is known for shipping animals to zoos and private individuals all over the globe. Some of the many animals include sable, roan, nyala, bontbok, cape hartebeest, white tailed gnu, black rhino, white rhino, mountain zebras, Somali wild ass, camels, cheetahs, brown hyenas, cape hunting dogs, giraffe, elephants and others.

In the 1980’s Schulz purchased the Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, New York and founded a company called Camelids of Delaware who imported llamas and alpacas from Bolivia, Chile and Peru; Poitou Donkeys from France, and Boer goats from New Zealand and South Africa.

In 1992 Schulz moved to Texas and soon thereafter purchased the Kifaru Exotic Animal Auction where the Schulz Family Legacy of animal exploitation continues today with the help of people like Steve Provost.


Catskill Game Farm 1958-2007


January 4, 1997: An internal USDA document contained a list identifying facilities with animals who were at risk of tuberculosis due to exposure to Hawthorn’s elephants: Gary Johnson’s elephant compound, Utica Zoo, Catskill Game Farm, Pittsburgh Zoo, Walker Bros. Circus, Alain Zerbini, Tarzan Zerbini, George Carden Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, Heritage Zoo, and Riddle’s Elephant Farm.

On several occasions, the farm was cited by federal inspectors for things like exposing animals to “significant injury hazards” and failing to provide medical care to a lame giraffe and an injured elephant.

The farm also came under fire from the San Francisco Zoo and the Toronto Zoo, which stopped doing business with the game farm because, officials at those zoos said, they had discovered that it was selling animals to canned hunt operations in Texas.

Inspection records from the Texas Animal Health Commission show that about 150 animals including zebra, deer and bison were shipped to Texas from the game farm between 2001 and 2004.

Where those animals ended up once they entered Texas is unclear, but records show that only five camels and two zebras were later shipped out of the Texas.

Don Elroy, the director of Wildlife Advocacy for the Humane Society of the United States, said it was no mystery where the rest of those animals went. “They are invariably going to canned hunts,” he said.

More at


Steve Provost Runs Zoofari Animal Outreach

Zoofari Animal Outreach does not appear to have a USDA license, so it would be interesting to know if Steve Provost operates this zoo to you, pay to play, program as its own entity or under his personal USDA license.  Zoofari Animal Outreach has a Facebook page and a website that says, “To find out more, call Laurie at 512-496-7861, write us at, or visit us on Facebook: Zoofari Animal Outreach.” It does not appear that the site has been updated since 2012, but Steve Provost uses a similar hotmail address that includes the word zoofari.




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Posted on Oct 19, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Patrick Clancy

Patrick Clancy

Patrick Clancey plans to bring cub handling to Kissimmee in a big way

Legal Name (DBA):
Customer No: 10627
Certificate No: 63-C-0245
Certificate Status: CANCELLED
Status Date: May 15, 2015
Legal Name (DBA):
Customer No: 10627
Certificate No: 63-C-0278
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Sep 25, 2015

Census as of 9/17/2015


October 2015

A trio of animal exhibitors from Tennessee and New York are in negotiations to buy and reopen the former JungleLand Zoo on US 192 in Kissimmee.

The company, Jungle Habitat Preserve, is scheduled to close today on the nearly 7-acre tract next to the Gator Motel in the heart of the W192 tourism corridor.

President Patrick Clancy is the founder and animal curator of Jungle Habitat Zoo, a traveling exotic animal show and large animal petting zoo that has exhibited at the Florida State Fair and at county fairs across the country. Vice President Greg Malvino, who is licensed in wildlife rehabilitation, and David Glickman discussed their vision with members of the W192 Development Authority Thursday.

“Our plan is to basically revitalize what JungleLand once was, but bring it up to date and make it more of an educational facility, and basically bring the people to the animals,” Malvino said. “We want to really work with what’s there and use the existing infrastructure, but make it more of a natural design. We don’t want to make it a concrete type zoo – we want to continue with where other zoos are going and other educational facilities, making the environments for the animals more suitable, and really creating a healthy lifestyle for them.”

“We really want to try to get involved with schools and community centers, but also take advantage of the international visitors,” he continued.

The deal has been in the works for months. “I’m very, very excited about this,” Authority Director David Buchheit said. “To me, this is a really cool project and it shows the direction the authority is going.”

The original zoo attraction opened in 1977 and gained notoriety as the home of a 126-foot alligator sculpture. After a succession of ownership changes and worldwide publicity in 1997 when an adult lion escaped her enclosure, the zoo permanently closed in 2002 amid allegations of animal mistreatment.

The current owner demolished the iconic alligator in 2014.

Orlando Sentinel researchers Susan Thompson and Judith Padilla contributed to this report.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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