L & L Exotics Lorenza Pearson
Lorenza Pearson L & L Exotics
Check for yourself to see if they meet the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge.
USDA Finally takes away license from Lorenza Pearson of L & L Exotics
Lions and tigers and bears denied
Ruling prohibits Copley Township man from selling or displaying exotic animals
By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer
A federal administrative judge has ruled that a Summit County man cannot exhibit or sell exotic animals.
Lorenza Pearson, who operates L&L Exotic Animal Farm in Copley Township, apparently will be allowed to keep his lions, tigers, bears and other animals under the ruling by Victor W. Palmer, a U.S. Department of Agriculture administrative law judge.
In a 47-page ruling signed on April 6, Palmer revoked Pearson’s federal license to show and sell exotic animals and ruled that Pearson is permanently disqualified from obtaining such a license.
Palmer rejected a request by the Agriculture Department that Pearson be fined $100,000 for failing to care for his animals in compliance with federal rules.
The orders will take effect May 11, barring an appeal by Pearson.
Efforts to reach Pearson and his attorney, William T. Whitaker, on Friday were unsuccessful.
Pearson was cited by Palmer for 26 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act between Jan. 5, 2000, and Feb. 22, 2006.
The violations “were in every sense egregious, obvious violations of the (federal) act and the regulations that substantially endangered the health and well-being of the animals Mr. Pearson kept at his facility for exhibition,” Palmer wrote.
“The fact that many of these violations were often uncorrected and persistent requires, in addition to the issuance of a cease-and-desist order, the revocation of Mr. Pearson’s exhibitor license as the only effective way to prevent their future occurrence.”
The judge called the conditions for the animals “deplorable.”
“Inadequate drainage of pens housing the animals was a chronic problem that was never fully remedied and the animals frequently had to endure the discomfort of staying wet,” he wrote.
“When water receptacles froze in the winter, the animals had no water to drink. In the summer when water was accessible, the water receptacles were dirty.
“If the hibernation of the bears that he denned in forced hibernation was interrupted, there was no food or water available to them. And some of the bears were kept, as were some lions and tigers, in enclosures that were too small for their comfort.”
Palmer rejected Pearson’s defense that his problems with federal inspectors stemmed from his failure to cooperate with veterinarian Norma Harlan in an investigation of another exotic-animal exhibitor. That led federal inspectors to seek revenge against him through repeated inspections, Pearson claimed.
It is not clear whether Pearson will be permitted to keep his license during an appeal.
Termination of the federal license also could mean that the inspections of Pearson’s facility on Columbus Avenue by federal inspectors will end.
On June 14, 2002, the Agriculture Department cited Pearson for 900 violations of its animal-care rules. He was accused of committing numerous, willful violations of federal rules, including inadequate medical care and nutrition, dirty conditions and inadequate facilities.
Pearson faced a fine of up to $3,750 per violation.
Between 1999 and 2005, Pearson had as many as 82 animals at the same time — mostly exotic cats and bears, Palmer said in his report.
The number of animals that Pearson had varied at times, but he had a medium-sized exotic animal operation, Palmer noted.
Testimony in the case was heard in Akron in September 2003 and June 2006.
Conditions at the Copley site were horrible, according to veterinarian Dr. Albert Lewandowski, who works at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and accompanied federal inspectors on a 2005 inspection.
“The facility is squalid,” he wrote in a report. He said he was shocked that a USDA-licensed operation would “have facilities as bad as this.”
He said Pearson’s facilities were “dirty, unkept, uncared for, just general neglect, just a facility that had been neglected not just recently, but for a long period of time. The animals were living under conditions that just weren’t appropriate for any type of animal.”
In 2005, seven of Pearson’s bears were judged to be undernourished and suffering from malnutrition. They were confiscated by federal inspectors and removed from Pearson’s care.
Wild-animal case languished nearly 3 years
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Plain Dealer Reporter
Akron — As federal inspectors issued citation after citation accusing Lorenza Pearson of raising exotic animals in deplorable conditions at his Cop ley Township farm, he was immune from sanctions because it took almost three years for officials to resume a hearing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a complaint against Pearson and the L&L Exotic Animal Farm in 2002, but the process to revoke his license stagnated after the hearing was temporarily halted in September 2003. When the hearing resumed Tuesday, Pearson faced 953 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, from February 1997 through February 2006.
Federal officials cited scheduling problems and the need to appoint a new administrative judge to hear the case as reasons for the delay.
Pearson and his attorney, William Whitaker, maintain that the Copley Township facility is safe for animals and people.
Federal officials said they removed seven bears in May 2005 because of lack of adequate food and veterinary care, and a Summit County judge ordered the removal of 27 exotic cats, including tigers and lions, in 2004 because of poor handling of animal waste.
During a Feb. 22 visit, a federal inspector reported Pearson had 18 animals: eight bears, six tigers, two lions, a black leopard and cougar. The inspector believed Pearson was hiding more, he wrote in a complaint.
Violations cited in that visit, which were similar to citations from previous inspections, included holes in a perimeter fence. Animals were not being fed well; were kept in pens that were unsafe and too small; and were not receiving adequate food and water, the complaint says.
The inspector said he failed to adequately care for a black leopard and a female tiger with a lame hind leg. The only food for the 10 large cats was a dead animal that was contaminated with dirt, hay and feces, records show.
Pearson was notified in October 2005 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it intended to terminate his Animal Welfare Act license. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied renewal of his captive-bred wildlife registration in February 2004.
Even if Judge Victor Palmer rules his license should be revoked, Pearson can appeal, with the license remaining in effect until appeals are exhausted, a federal lawyer said.
Pearson’s operation has come under increasing scrutiny following the unrelated May 22 escape of a 500-pound black bear from an Ashtabula County animal compound. The bear mauled a 36-year-old woman. Two days later a fire ignited by a space heater in an iguana terrarium destroyed Pearson’s Columbus Avenue home and killed a bear cub, two tiger cubs, two iguanas and many birds.
The farm made national news in 1983 when Pearson’s 2-year-old son was killed by a Bengal tiger.
Ohio law provides virtually no oversight of wild-animal breeders. Some legislators have said they will introduce a bill calling for regulations.
The Animal Protection Institute, a national advocacy organization, asked legislators Monday to ban ownership of dangerous wild and exotic animals in Ohio. It said owners allow people to have direct contact with dangerous animals.
While people are in danger, the animals are also suffering because of poor care, Zibby Wilder, spokeswoman for the agency, said Tuesday.
She said that the USDA does not have enough inspectors and that the Pearson case illustrates how the government does not act, even after years of violations.
“Even when they are inspected, they are given a fine or have a hearing and nothing happens,” she said. “It’s not a priority until someone gets hurt.”
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
Animal exhibitor accused of neglect
Copley exotic creature keeper to face 953 complaints in court
By Mary Kay Quinn
Beacon Journal staff writer
The owner of an exotic animal farm on Tuesday will face federal officials who claim he committed 953 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Lorenza Pearson, owner of the L&L Exotic Animal Farm in Copley Township, will face U.S. Department of Agriculture officials in Summit County court.
Pearson, who needs a federal license to exhibit exotic animals, could lose that license and be fined up to $2,500 each time he is found in violation.
Pearson was in the news last month when a fire blamed on a space heater destroyed his house. Two tiger cubs, a bear cub, two iguanas and some small
The alleged violations date to 1997, and many concern lack of veterinary care and adequate structures for the animals.
“Many of these — and other — violations continue to this day,” according to the USDA complaint filed in March.
The USDA notes that Pearson has owned anywhere from 26 to 82 animals at the times he sought renewal of his USDA license.
As recently as February, Pearson had 18 animals — eight bears, three white tigers, three “orange” tigers, two lions, one black leopard and one cougar at
his Columbus Avenue property.
County officials initiated action that led to the removal of 29 animals in June 2004, while the USDA removed seven bears in May 2005.
Failure to provide veterinary care to the bears was among the reasons the USDA seized them, according to the complaint.
Many of the 119 alleged violations of veterinary care standards appear to deal with record keeping, but in one instance, the USDA claims Pearson didn’t get a
veterinarian to treat a tiger with a lame hind leg.
He also didn’t watch the animals on a daily basis, according to the USDA, and in January 2001 he was unaware that one of his tigers had died.
The USDA found fault with structures and fences on the property.
In February, the USDA found holes in the perimeter fences that surrounded the enclosures of six tigers.
Sometimes the animals were in danger, according to the USDA. The USDA also claims that cages had protruding wires that could hurt animals, and that between
1997 and 2001, some animals — including tigers and lions — were in enclosures that were too small for normal posture and for freedom of movement.
Food could be bad, too, the USDA claimed. It said that in June 2000 Pearson provided “old decaying food contaminated with maggots” to 26 tigers and lions.
As for Pearson, losing his home has been difficult, said his lawyer, William Whitaker. But he has been working hard, he said, and someone is always on site
to take care of the remaining animals living behind the burned house.
Two years after trucks hauled away 29 exotic animals, the Pearson’s are right back at it:
Tiger cubs die in house fire
3 wild animals die in Copley house fire
USDA investigating breeder’s business
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Plain Dealer Reporter
Copley Township- A black bear cub and two tiger cubs died inside their cages Wednesday morning as flames swept through the Summit County home of a wild-animal breeder, fire officials said.
The blaze consumed the residence of Lorenza Pearson, but did not damage the nearby pens of L&L Exotic Animal Farm, fire Chief Todd Chambers said. State records show Pearson held eight black bears on the property. Pearson’s son said 10 large cats – including lions and tigers – also share the property.
The fire comes two days after a 500-pound black bear escaped an Ashtabula County animal compound and mauled a 36-year-old woman, raising questions about the safety of wild-animal facilities.
Both businesses are under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, officials said Wednesday.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is investigating Mark Gutman’s Grand River Fur Exchange in Ashtabula’s Hartsgrove Township to determine whether the operation requires a federal license, said Robert Willems, an animal-care specialist.
Gutman breeds and sells a variety of wild animals, and he holds a state license that was renewed in March. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
A pending USDA case against Pearson claims numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act at his Copley Township farm, including inadequate housing for animals. The complaint covers a period between May 1998 and November 2001. A hearing before a federal administrative judge is set for next month in Akron.
In 2004, officials removed wild and exotic animals – including bears, tigers and lions – from Pearson’s farm after a judge deemed the operation a public nuisance. The issue involved the handling of animal waste.
In 1983, a 250-pound Bengal tiger that served as a pet killed Pearson’s 2-year-old son inside the family’s home.
Ohio law provides virtually no oversight of wild-animal breeders, a situation that has drawn increased attention following Monday’s bear escape in Ashtabula County. Statewide, there are 57 bear breeders with 130 bears, according to a report provided Wednesday by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Pearson’s farm is second in bear population. The largest is Sam Mazzola’s animal rescue center in Lorain County.
Pearson declined to comment Wednesday. His son, Lorenza Pearson Jr., 30, of Bath Township said operations like L&L Exotic Animal Farm can be safe “if it’s done right.”
Plain Dealer reporter Steve Luttner contributed to this story.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
Trucks haul away 29 exotic animals from L & L Exotics owned by Lorenza Pearson
1983 one of their tigers killed their own two year old son
Posted on Wed, Jun. 09, 2004
June 9, 2004 Copley Twp. Ohio : Trucks haul away 29 exotic animals. Pearson’s L&L Exotic Animal Farm loses bid to keep lions, tigers, leopards. This is not the first time the farm has drawn attention from the law and from the media, reported Costen. In 1983, tragedy struck when a 250-pound tiger killed Pearson’s 2-year-old son.
By Craig Webb and Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal staff writers
COPLEY TWP. – Lorenza Pearson could only stand by and watch as his so-called pets — and source of income — were loaded one by one onto a convoy of trucks Wednesday at his exotic animal farm.
From just after sunrise to just before sunset, a small army of volunteers from animal sanctuaries around the country and officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture toiled to lure the menagerie of 29 exotic animals, ranging from tigers to black leopards, into portable cages that were loaded onto waiting trucks and hauled away.
Some of the animals resisted the temptation of raw chicken, snarled at the volunteers and paced back and forth in their cramped cages on Pearson’s L&L Exotic Animal Farm on Columbus Avenue .
Copley Police Chief Mike Mier said the process was a slow one to ensure that neither the handlers nor the animals were harmed. He said one particularly agitated tiger and a lion had to be tranquilized before they could be moved.
Wednesday’s court-ordered seizure of the animals has been simmering for years as county and federal authorities sparred with Pearson over conditions at his farm where exotic animals were bred and kept between gigs at area fairs and carnivals.
While the animals were being loaded onto trucks awaiting transport to four animal sanctuaries in Colorado , N orth Carolina , Pennsylvania and Indiana , Pearson made one more bid in court to keep his farm intact.
But Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove rejected the plea of Pearson’s attorney to vacate her Tuesday order for the removal of the animals.
“Enough is enough,” she said forcefully. “There is a time when the Board of Health’s order must be enforced.”
This was the latest chapter in Pearson’s extensive battleto keep wild animals, despite concerns about environmental hazards, complaints from neighbors, a mauling and even a death on his property.
Pearson’s attorney, William Whitaker, said he would appeal the judge’s decision to the 9th District Court of Appeals.
At the hearing, he said the court’s decision ran afoul of his client’s constitutional rights, and that the township, county and health board had acted in secret.
He told the court he didn’t even have a copy of the court order permitting authorities onto Pearson’s Columbus Avenue property Wednesday morning.
“There isn’t a single bit of evidence that he hasn’t complied,” with the court’s order, Whitaker said.
But Irving Sugerman, law director for Copley Township , said Pearson has had two years to meet the health board’s orders to keep his animals.
“He does not have a wastewater collection treatment plan and he’s had two years to do it,” Sugerman said.
After the hearing, Sugerman denied Pearson’s allegation that the township wanted to close his farm so that it could establish a housing development behind him on Wright Road .
“That’s absolutely false,” Sugerman said. “That’s the most absurd comment I’ve heard of. That’s never even been discussed.”
Pearson, wearing a T-shirt bearing illustrations of wild animals, said before the hearing that he would understand the judge’s decision if he had been cruel to his exotic wildlife — but he hadn’t been.
“This is all about housing on Wright Road ,” he said. “ Nobody wants to live next door to big cats.”
Animals in good shape
William Sheperd, a veterinarian from the Western Pennsylvania N ational Wild Animal Orphanage south of Pittsburgh , said there’s no question the animals were well cared for. He looked over each of Pearson’s animals at a makeshift clinic set up on the property.
Aside from a couple of the big cats suffering from teeth problems, Sheperd said, most of the animals were in fairly good shape.
The problem, he said, is cramming wild animals into a hodgepodge of cages that cover an area of less than two acres that includes Pearson’s ranch-style home.
“This removal needed to be done,” he said.
Sheperd’s sanctuary agreed to take in two white tigers and a black leopard.
Custody of the animals was turned over to animal sanctuaries handpicked by the USDA on the condition that the animals not be bred or destroyed.
The animals divvied up on Wednesday included 15 tigers, two spotted leopards, one black leopard, 8 African lions, one cougar, one lynx and one female Himalayan sun bear.
Another of the beneficiaries was the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point , Ind.
Dave Hodge, director of the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky who also volunteers at the rescue center, agreed that the cramped conditions on Pearson’s farm were not a healthy environment for the animals.
“The attitude (here at Pearson’s farm) seems like they are out to make money,” he said.
Pearson’s namesake son, Lorenza, took exception to that notion.
Pointing to his parents’ small home, where the gutters are about to fall off and at the older cars parked around it, Lorenza asked: “Does this look like they are making a lot of money?”
If anything is about money, the son said, it is the government coming in and seizing valuable animals like the white tigers and leaving behind nine black bears that aren’t worth a dime.
“Maybe next time they should go down to the Akron Zoo and take some of their animals,” he said. “This is all about them pulling their authority.”
Sugerman said the remaining black bears that were also ordered removed by Cosgrove will go once federal officials locate an appropriate place for them.
“Bears are harder to place than the cats are,” he said, adding that they hope to move them within three weeks.
With 25 years of working with exotic animals apparently nearing an end, Pearson said he was upset.
Cosgrove’s order prohibits him from having any more such animals at his farm.
“Who wouldn’t be” upset, he said. “But the only thing I’m thinking about is what’s going on right now.”
27 Exotic Animals Seized From Farm
News Net5.com7:18 p.m. EDT June 9, 2004 – The city of Copley seized 27 animals from an exotic animal farm Wednesday, reported N ewsChannel5’s Jonathon Costen.
The lions, tigers, and leopards lived on L and L Exotic Animal Farm, which is owned by Lorenzo Pearson.
The city and the health department says they shut down the farm because it is a nuisance, saying that it is difficult to dispose of the animal waste on the relatively small piece of property.
Pearson’s son says the family is being victimized, and that the removal is really about politics.
SLIDESHOW:Animal Refuge Raid
Other supporters say that the city is picking on the Pearsons, and that the animals were loved and well-cared-for on the farm.
In a last minute effort, Pearson’s attorney filed a motion to keep the animals.
But Judge Patricia Cosgrove upheld the removal of the animals.
This is not the first time the farm has drawn attention from the law and from the media, reported Costen. In 1983, tragedy struck when a 250-pound tiger killed Pearson’s 2-year-old son.
Charges against Pearson were dropped.
TX Pearson menagerie of 19 animals many big cats confiscated
Posted on Thu, Jun. 24, 2004
Copley tiger destroyed after being confiscated
Officials say L&L Exotic Animal Farm cat was ill
By Craig Webb
Beacon Journal staff writer
One of the tigers removed this month from a Copley Township exotic animal farm has been destroyed because it was diseased.
Irving Sugerman, law director for Copley Township , said the adult tiger was euthanized after the court-ordered removal of 29 animals from Lorenza Pearson’s property June 9.
Joe Taft, director of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point , Ind. — who was among the volunteers from several states assisting in the removal — said the tiger appeared to have cancer or some type of abscess in the tissue around its mouth.
“This cat was in a lot of pain,” he said.
The tiger had been taken to an undisclosed animal sanctuary in N orth Carolina that was one of four handpicked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take custody of Pearson’s animals.
The removal was the latest chapter in a long-standing fight led by the township and the Summit County Board of Health over conditions at Pearson’s L&L Exotic Animal Farm on Columbus Avenue .
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove ordered the removal after Pearson refused to follow her order to install a system around the cages to collect animal waste.
Taft, whose animal sanctuary took in two leopards, a lynx and a pair of cougars, said the big cats in his care are doing well.
The only exception was the lynx, he said, which had problems with two of its teeth that had to be corrected.
Pearson’s attorney, William Whitaker, who did not return calls seeking comment, has said they plan to challenge the removal in the 9th District Court of Appeals.
The prospect of an appeal, meanwhile, is creating a headache for the sanctuaries taking in Pearson’s animals, which were used for breeding and exhibitions at fairs and carnivals.
William Sheperd, a veterinarian from the Western Pennsylvania N ational Wild Animal Orphanage , which took in a white tiger and a black leopard, said the sanctuaries are unable to spay or neuter the animals as long as their removal is tied up in the courts.
As a result, Sheperd said, the big cats must remain segregated.
Custody was turned over to animal sanctuaries by the USDA on the condition the animals are not bred or destroyed.
The animals included 15 tigers, two spotted leopards, one black leopard, eight African lions, one cougar, one lynx and one female Himalayan sun bear.
Still in limbo on Pearson’s nearly empty animal farm are nine black bears.
Nolan Lemon, a spokesman for the USDA, said the department is still looking for an appropriate place for them.
“It (the removal) is going to happen,” he said. “We just have to find a sanctuary for them that meets our standards.”
Joe Taft threatens to send rescued cats back if USDA does not pay
Posted on Fri, Jul. 02, 2004
Lion keeper may return cats to Ohio
Volunteer seeks pay for care of Copley pets
By Craig Webb
Beacon Journal staff writer
CENTERPOINT , IN. – A volunteer who agreed to take in exotic animals from a Copley Township farm last month threatened Thursday to round up the animals and return them to Summit County if the federal government doesn’t fork over the reimbursement it promised him.
The volunteer, Joe Taft, admitted the threat was perhaps a bit rash, but it drew the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Summit County officials, who have waged a prolonged battle to close Lorenza Pearson’s operation.
Copley Township Law Director Irving Sugerman said negotiations are under way between Taft and federal officials to settle the billing dispute.
USDA spokesman N olan Lemon could not be reached for comment.
Taft said his threat was necessary because he will have to start laying off workers at his western Indiana rescue center if the bills from the Copley rescue are not paid soon.
And as Taft strolled around his facility Thursday, his worries appeared to be much the same as those that once plagued Pearson’s L&L Exotic Animal Farm on Columbus Avenue : Money.
It was money, or a lack of it, that ultimately caused Pearson to lose his assortment of 29 big cats ranging from tigers to cougars to leopards in his battle with Copley Township and the Summit County Health Department over mandated costly repairs and improvements to his farm.
Now it is Taft’s turn to worry about money.
It seems when the Agriculture Department decided to take custody of the animals after a Summit County judge ordered their removal, the department turned to Taft, who runs the 100-or-so-acre Exotic Feline Rescue Center .
Taft helped coordinate volunteers from four rescue centers — including his own — who loaded 15 tigers, two spotted leopards, one black leopard, eight African lions, one cougar, one lynx and one Himalayan sun bear onto a convoy of rented trucks to move the animals to their new homes in four states.
But the move came at a price — about $50,000 by Taft’s reckoning — to pay for the trucks and the construction of special steel cages to transport the menagerie.
Now, close to a month later, Taft said, the bills are coming due and he has yet to see a dime from the Department of Agriculture, which he says promised to cover all the travel expenses.
Taft said this has created a cash crunch for his 14-year-old, nonprofit rescue center that relies on the generosity of donors and whatever money is raised from visitors. He charges $10 for adults and $5 for children for tours of his facility in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, several miles east of Terre Haute .
To lose $50,000, Taft explained, would be devastating to a place like his that relies on a budget of about $250,000 a year to care for 170 animals and pay a staff of 10 employees.
The remaining 28 animals confiscated from Pearson’s farm were distributed to rescue centers in Indiana Pennsylvania , N orth Carolina and Colorado . One of the tigers was euthanized because of a disease.
One person who hopes the negotiations do not go well at all is Pearson.
“You tell them they can bring them on home,” Pearson said when told of the threat to return the animals to Ohio .
Pearson — who has pledged to continue his fight to overturn the court order banning exotic pets on his property — said he is still upset over losing the creatures that he showed at local fairs and carnivals.
“They were part of my family,” he said.
There are still nine black bears on Pearson’s property that Sugerman says will be removed soon once an appropriate sanctuary can be found to take them in.
If Taft is not reimbursed the cost of hiring the trucks and constructing cages, William Sheperd, a veterinarian from the Western Pennsylvania N ational Wild Animal Orphanage , said he too would be willing to ship back the white tiger and black leopard he took in.
What’s ironic about this whole dispute, Sheperd said, is that the move was actually the cheapest aspect of the relocation.
“The move is a small expense compared to the quarter of a million dollars it will cost us to keep and take care of each of these cats until they die,” he said.
Taft said he’s disheartened that he has to worry about money when there’s so much work to be done to take care of the numerous cats that roam inside large cages at his sprawling rescue center.
He said his day starts at 3:30 a.m. when it’s time to check all the cats — including a lynx from Pearson’s farm in a cage right outside Taft’s front door and two cougars in his driveway near his garage.
And the day doesn’t end, he said, until sunset, when it’s time for one more trek down the labyrinth of trails.
Yet Taft said he is “spoiled.”
Pausing on a narrow trail, flanked by tiger enclosures on both sides, he noted: “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. N ot many people can say that.
“ Not many people find that much satisfaction in their work.”
Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, removed the remaining 10 exotic animals from a confinement operated by Chris McDonald between Peabody and Burns. Two tigers belonging to McDonald were previously killed. Removed were three tigers, a female black leopard, two male lions, one female lion, one male leopard and two bobcats.
L&L Exotic Animal Farm 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 cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for repeatedly failing to provide veterinary care to extremely ill and emaciated animals, inadequate and unsanitary feeding practices, failure to provide minimum space, filthy, wet, and foul-smelling enclosures, failure to provide drinking water, and failure to provide shelter from the elements. L&L Exotic Animal Farm seals bears in containers and withholds food and water for months at a time to induce hibernation. L&L Exotic Animal Farm buys animals at auction. Animals from L&L Exotic Animal Farm have escaped, and one of the animals killed a child. Contact PETA for documentation.
Animals in recent inventory: 8 cougars, 17 lions, 2 lynx, 1 jaguar, 5 leopards, 14 tigers, 14 black bears, 5 bobcats, and a fox.
July 24, 2002: According to the Akron Beacon Journal , a county judge granted permission to local officials to carry weapons while inspecting L&L Exotic Animal Farm. Inspectors were concerned about “possible attacks by the dozens of lions, tigers, alligators and bears housed at the farm.”
June 26, 2002: According to the Akron Beacon Journal , “L&L Exotic Animal Farm has been cited as a public health nuisance by the Summit County Health Department. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed 47 charges about unclean, unsafe quarters for the animals. É [Authorities] were appalled by what they found-animal skeletons strewn about the property and a pool of blood in the shed that Pearson used to butcher horses and cows for his menagerie. “[A]nimal waste dumped in trash receptacles wasn’t cleared often enough, there was no good way to clear urine from the cages and Pearson has provided no evidence that the animals have been vaccinated.”
The article also reported that the Summit County Children Services Board took three children living in Pearson’s dilapidated home, which had a boarded-up window and whose roof appeared to be falling down.
April 23, 2002: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct previously identified violations of not maintaining enclosures and perimeter fencing. Lion cages were in serious disrepair, and perimeter fencing around cages for the bears and leopards was not secure. L&L was cited for failure to provide adequate veterinary care to a female lion with a nasal discharge and a tiger cub with abrasions on the nose, inadequate drainage around the lion cages and slaughtering facility, urine-soaked and foul-smelling lion cages, failure to adequately separate incompatible animals, and failure to maintain transport trailers that were rusty, had a broken door and sharp metal protrusions, and could permit exhaust fumes to enter the trailer.
November 20, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to maintain enclosures and perimeter fencing.
July 26, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to use a properly constructed transport cage.
June 19, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not providing adequate veterinary care. The inspector discovered a mountain lion who was drooling excessively and had an abscess on the side of her face and a female bear with head injuries. No one at L&L was aware of these conditions before the inspector observed them. L&L was also cited for damaged walls in the lionsÕ dens and poor housekeeping.
March 8, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing adequate ventilation in a lion enclosure with a strong ammonia order, not feeding or providing veterinary care to bears Òdenned upÓ since November 2000 , not providing animals with drinking water, and inadequate drainage.
January 31, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to provide immediate veterinary care to animals identified as being seriously ill during the previous inspection . L&L was also cited for failure to correct previously identified violations of inadequate perimeter fencing, inadequate and unsanitary feeding, insufficient watering, filthy, foul-smelling, wet enclosures, inadequate drainage, and failure to have medical records.
L&L was also cited for poor housekeeping and inadequate pest control.
January 29, 2001: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct previously identified violations of not having adequate perimeter fencing, not providing adequate shelter to protect a lion cub and two cougars from inclement weather, inadequate and unsanitary feeding, filthy enclosures, housing predator and prey animals in close proximity, inadequate records, inadequate drainage, and not providing minimum space to two cougars housed in a transport trailer, a lion housed in a travel enclosure that also had no shelter from the elements, and at least one bear kept in an container “so small that it [was] impossible for the animal to stand up, turn around, or even approach normal postural adjustments.”
The inspector wrote, “Animals are being fed food on the extremely contaminated ground. The enclosures have old carcasses, feces, and urine all over. A dead cow [who] is going to be butchered and used for large cat feed has been sewn up, and itÕs not clear what [she] died of. [Her] head was half-missing.”
“There is an excessive buildup of wet bedding, feces, bones, feed waste, and debris. ” Many animals were wet and uncomfortable.”
“The juvenile lions were housed in an open travel enclosure that had no protection from the weather. ” This animal was extremely wet and miserable.”
L&L was also cited for failure to provide veterinary care. There was a juvenile mountain lion who was very ill, lame, and had an abscess on the left hind leg. The inspector wrote, “The animal was thin to the point of emaciation. [The mountain lion] also appeared to be blind. This animal does not have adequate shelter from the elements. É [The mountain lion] was wet and could not stay dry and clean. This animal requires immediate veterinary care if it is going to live .”
Two male lions in a pen containing five lions were very thin, dirty, and wet, and one was lame. The female lion’s feet were very tender. There were very loose stools evident in the pen. The inspector wrote, ” These animals are in immediate need of care to protect their lives .”
There was a rabbit with an eye that was almost swollen shut.
There was no date or cause of death recorded for several animals who died in 2000, including a badger, a llama, a leopard, a bear, a lion, and a jaguar. There was a dead tiger in one pen, and no one was sure when the animal died. The 11 “denned” bears were sealed in containers so that they could not be fed, watered, observed, or provided emergency care since November 2000 .
There were no records to show that any of the required treatments, dewormings, fecal exams, or vaccinations were occurring.
The USDA cited L&L for failure to have a complete program of veterinary care, failure to have a sufficient number of knowledgeable employees to care for the animals, improper food and bedding storage, inadequate pest control, and failure to provide drinking water to any of the animals. Several animals were so thirsty that they were licking the snow and ice .
September 8, 2000: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to have a responsible person available so that an inspection could be performed.
July 19, 2000: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing minimum space for two adult lions, two adult tigers, and a jaguar.
L&L was also cited for failure to maintain a transport vehicle that had bald tires.
June 12, 2000: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for feeding tigers and lions maggot-infested food and failure to maintain facilities.
February 17, 2000: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to have adequate perimeter fencing around potentially dangerous animals.
January 5, 2000: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not providing minimum space to three tigers . The inspector wrote, “These three tigers have been living in these conditions since early September of 1999.”
September 18, 1999: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to have a program of veterinary care and failure to provide veterinary care and adequate food to two emaciated 7-week-old lion cubs with scrapes on their faces and legs. The inspector wrote, “They were very thin and not at all healthy-looking. É These animals require veterinary care and should not be on exhibit.”
L&L was cited for failure to provide veterinary care to a young camel who was suffering discomfort from a badly matted and burred coat, failure to have records of the source and ownership of two camels, seven tigers, and three lions, failure to maintain the camel pen in a manner that would prevent serious injury, inadequate transport enclosures, and failure to provide minimum space to an adult lion and three adult tigers who were stored in the travel trailer. The inspector wrote, “The lion, especially, was exhibiting stereotypic behaviors.”
September 9, 1999: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to maintain enclosures for two adult tigers, a bobcat, and a fox, failure to provide minimum space to an adult tiger housed in a small trailer, and an unsanitary transport trailer.
May 12, 1999: The USDA cited L&L Exotic Animal Farm for failure to provide adequate veterinary care to two lion cubs with injuries to their noses caused by transport.
November 19, 1992: A State Highway Patrol lieutenant shot and killed Lorenzo Pearson’s jaguar after the animal chewed through the bars and escaped from a cage on the back of a pickup truck. Pearson had instructed the officer to kill the jaguar “because of the viciousness of the animal.” Pearson was returning from an auction with two jaguars and a cougar he had just purchased.
December 9, 1983: Lorenzo Pearson’s 2-year-old son was attacked and killed by one of Pearson’s “pet” tigers . The 16-month-old tiger had been kept in a room with a dirt floor adjacent to the family’s kitchen, along with two lions, a wolf, and a bear. The tiger chased the child into a bedroom and mauled the boy. Pearson was also bitten when he beat the tiger over the head with a hammer until the child was released. Police later killed the tiger.
Pearson was indicted on charges of child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. A Summit County judge dismissed the charges because there was no local law that prohibited keeping wild animals.