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Posted on Mar 16, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Jay Owenhouse

Illusionist Jay Owenhouse

 

Mr. Owenhouse, from Bozeman, Montana, is a prominent, award-winning illusionist who has owned and used tigers in his magic act for the past 25 years. He bills himself as “the authentic illusionist” and feels that live tigers are an integral part of his “authenticity.”

Owenhouse was mentored in tiger-keeping by Rick Glassey, a now-retired animal trainer who raised and trained big cats to “perform” in movies, magic shows, and even a Broadway musical. He trained the tigers for popular illusionist Doug Henning, who was a major inspiration for Owenhouse (and most modern illusionists). Henning was one of the first illusionists to incorporate tigers into magic shows. He once said, “If I produce a 450-pound Bengal tiger, it’s going to create a lot more wonder than if I produce a rabbit.” Incidentally, Henning’s tigers escaped backstage on multiple occasions.

According to this article, “once a Bengal tiger got loose backstage at NBC and chased [talk show host] Tom Snyder into the bathroom; another time, another tiger ate up 27 of Henning’s 30 prop animals.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1982/06/09/the-spellbound-world-of-doug-henning/ca8255d5-2a74-425d-a874-d76373dacccc/

If I produce a 450-pound Bengal tiger, it’s going to create a lot more wonder than if I produce a rabbit.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/doughennin697766.html
Mr. Glassey no longer owns any big cats, and I couldn’t find any allegations of abuse attached to him.

Jay Owenhouse’s first tiger was a male named Sherekhan, who was obtained as a cub in 1996. You can see a video of Sherekhan here.

Although the video is from 1998, the “tiger appearing in the cage” act is still a major part of Owenhouse’s show. After Sherekhan passed away in 2010, Owenhouse obtained his current cats from Doc Antle’s T.I.G.E.R.S: a pair of 4-month old littermates named Shekinah and Sheena. Sheena is an orange tiger and Shekinah is promoted as a “Royal White Tiger” who “likes to travel” and “loves to hug.” In this article, Owenhouse admits: “I really wanted a white tiger for a while, but we waited because the genetics have weakened. An offspring of two white tigers has an 80 percent chance of being orange, because white isn’t albino, it’s a recessive genetic trait.”  http://www.dodgeglobe.com/news/20160914/magic-runs-in-family and http://www.jayowenhouse.com/family.html

A lot of the advertising imagery Owenhouse uses focuses on the white tiger, which the magician claims is an ‘endangered species.’ Owenhouse’s official website claims: “Unfortunately there are only about 200 white tigers left in the world. White tigers are an Asian species which are found in the frozen tundra of the Soviet Far East and south to the humid jungles of Malaya.” In this news release, he talks about how “They haven’t seen a white tiger in the wild in 10 years. They discovered an isolated gene that’s started bringing them back.”  http://www.recordnet.com/entertainmentlife/20160615/dare-to-believe-imaginative-escape-artist-brings-sense-of-wonder-to-hope-show

Does he know that’s not true, or is he just believing what Doc Antle tells him?

What sets Owenhouse apart from other illusionists is that he treats his tigers more like “pets” than props. Here’s the scary part: the tigers were raised and housed by Owenhouse and his family in their suburban home and backyard, in a residential area less than half a mile away from a middle school, until they weighed over two hundred pounds each.

When Owenhouse first got Shekinah and Sheena, he celebrated by making a Youtube video of him and his children parading the cubs through town on leashes in order to show them off.

That video eventually shows the same tigers, nearly full-grown, walking into Owenhouse’s kitchen and climbing into his bed for a bottle of milk, their standard “reward” for obeying commands (read this blog post for an explanation of why trainers bottlefeed adult big cats as an unnatural form of behavioral conditioning https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/special-snowflake-syndrome-the-truth-behind-special-bonds-and-how-celebrity-conservationists-build-them-on-assembly-lines/). Other Youtube videos show the cubs exploring the well-manicured backyard with collars on, and, when large enough to hurt someone, romping in the snow just a wooden fence away from the neighbors.

Although Owenhouse tells people that his cats live at a “sanctuary” when not performing, they actually live in a 30 by 40-foot concrete and chain-link enclosure attached to an industrial park warehouse in Belgrade, MT, about a mile from a major airport and less than half a mile from another residential area. The location of the warehouse is a closely-guarded secret, but I was able to figure out roughly where it is after an article about an unrelated nearby business mentioned that a warehouse just north of that location is “used by a magician to store tigers.” I’ve attached a screenshot of where I think the tiger pen is.

From an animal care standpoint, Owenhouse is actually pretty good for a private owner. He has no USDA violations (license# 81-C-0031) and I could find no allegations of abuse other than the standard criticism for using tigers as magic props. He feeds his cats Nebraska brand feline diet, which is used by AZA zoos, and he regularly provides them with enrichment toys like Boomer Balls. The 1,200 sq. ft. warehouse enclosure he built for the tigers is partially outdoors and includes a den, a heated pool, and a fountain. Tigers don’t belong in a Montana warehouse, but a privately-owned tiger could do much worse. Here’s a video of the enclosure.

This website has several “behind the scenes” photos of Owenhouse and his tiger enclosures.

In the magic show, the tigers “appear” and “disappear” in tiny cages on-stage. After the illusion, the cage of Shekinah, the white tiger, is opened, the tiger comes out and is rewarded with a bottle of milk, and Owenhouse walks her around the stage with nothing more than a leash and collar for “restraint” (more on this later). Owenhouse brags about his tiger care and reassures his audience that only reward-based training is used. The tigers are transported in a “climate controlled trailer” to 10 performances each month (the animals don’t tour during the summer). Owenhouse brings his tigers to other events on rare occasions. In 2013, he brought one of his tigers on-stage at Montana State University’s freshmen convocation as a tribute to Life of Pi. I’ve also heard reports that when the cats were cubs, Owenhouse brought them to his daughter’s school and allowed the students to pet them.

Although Mr. Owenhouse seems to love his tigers and treats them well, the way he handles them is often extremely reckless. This local news interview shows him engaging in lots of dangerous and irresponsible behavior that’s often seen with complacent pet owners who are convinced that their big cats have “love” or “respect” for them.  http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/ktvm/magician-raises-tigers-perfects-illusions-from-small-montana-town/7815655

Owenhouse claims that the tigers “like to be loved,” and that “we have a wonderful relationship with them, they’re family for us.” He claims that he’s “careful” with his animals, but the news segment includes a clip of his teenage son play-wrestling with the 250-pound tigers. The boy nonchalantly explains that the tigers view him “like a sibling” and that “when it comes to interacting with them, they’re a lot more rough and play as if I’m a tiger.” Lots of people have been injured or killed by tigers that were “just playing.” What’s even more shocking is that he invites the newscaster into the tiger’s enclosure and lets her feed a nearly full-grown, completely unrestrained tiger from a baby bottle.

In a 2014 review of one of Owenhouse’s magic shows, the reporter writes: “He let the tiger out of a cage and only had her on a small leash. I was nervous, until Owenhouse explained that his family raised both tigers and in their backyard.” “Walking” an unrestrained tiger across the stage with nothing but a handheld chain leash is a regular part of Owenhouse’s shows. Not only does this stunt put the safety of the audience at risk, but his “explanation” for it perpetuates the totally false idea that raising a big cat from a cub makes it “safe,” and that it’s OK for tigers to live in backyards.  http://dakotastudent.com/3630/features/owenhouse-escapes-jaws-of-death-during-show/

Like most entertainers who use big cats, Jay Owenhouse portrays himself as a “conservation advocate” and believes that his show helps to “spread awareness” about threats facing wild tigers. But, although a few of Owenhouse’s “facts” about tigers are generally correct, many of them only fuel the myths that drive the exploitation of these animals. He tells people that white tigers are an endangered species that people are breeding for “conservation,” and has stated that “the only threat to wild tigers is poaching” http://rapidcityjournal.com/blackhillstogo/magician-jay-owenhouse-dares-audiences-to-believe/article_c48096fd-fe60-5b21-aff6-9d9383829acd.html (while ignoring habitat destruction, human conflict, and other issues).

In this article, http://ravallirepublic.com/missoula/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/article_2360353a-7177-5414-93d0-e4a4b0fba778.html he claims that tigers “tend to bond to one or two people and also become very loyal if they’re treated with respect and dignity,” perpetuating the dangerous misconception that big cats are made “tame” if hand-raised. And, according to this article, http://www.tri-cityherald.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article32194950.html#! one of the ways Owenhouse “educates” people about tigers is by showing a video montage of him and his family raising tigers in their home at every performance. That sends a completely wrong message that does nothing to teach people about wildlife — one reviewer compared it to little more than a “show and tell” about Owenhouse’s pets.

At every show, more expensive VIP tickets are offered, which entitle the holder to a backstage meet and greet with the illusionist and one of his tigers. Owenhouse claims that the proceeds from these VIP tickets are donated to “help save wild tigers and cheetahs,” and although part of that money allegedly goes to the Corbett Foundation (which is a legitimate conservation charity), the other part of the “donations” go to Doc Antle’s deceptively-named and completely bogus “Rare Species Fund,” which many news outlets mistakenly report as “an animal sanctuary in India.”

According to this article, “because of Owenhouse’s love for animals, he partnered with the Rare Species Fund as Ambassadors to help spread the word.”  http://siouxcityjournal.com/weekender/illusionist-jay-owenhouse-promotes-conservation-of-the-big-cats-with/article_437a2df3-1a64-51fa-942b-6494d2863265.html

Owenhouse’s methods of raising and handling tigers often put himself, his family, and the public at risk, his partnership with Doc Antle doesn’t help true conservation, and his attempts at “education” by showing off his pets often undermine the message he is trying to send.

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Posted on Mar 10, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

A Walk on the Wild Side

A Walk on the Wild Side

A Walk on the Wild Side

(also known as Toucan’s Exotic Animals) is a traveling fairground exhibit and pseudo-sanctuary based in Canby, Oregon. It is owned and operated by Steve Higgs and Cheryl Jones. Although they are licensed as a nonprofit organization, claim to be a “rescue”,  and are legally permitted to house exotic animals confiscated by the state, they have admitted that they are not a sanctuary and do many things that responsible rescues would never do. These include exploiting tiger cubs for $30 photo-ops; breeding and buying animals for display at fairs; threatening and insulting those who criticize them; renting out animals for parties and commercials; and advocating for the “right” of circuses, roadside zoos, and private owners to own, breed, and exploit endangered species.

A Walk on the Wild Side has had multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and in 2015 public visits to their facility were shut down by Clackamas County officials who found “too many violations to list” of zoning and building codes. Inspectors found that trailers were being used as “nurseries” for baby animals, that other animal enclosures consisted of small chain-link pens covered with tents, and that the zoning under which the property was registered prohibits the facility from being open to the public. When ordered by county officials to build permanent structures to house their animals, A Walk on the Wild Side claimed that they had “no funding” to do so, even though they lamented to a local news station that they made over $50,000 a month from facility tours alone. The organization also does not own any land and is currently in the process of relocating to an equestrian center in Hillsboro, Oregon, creating an unstable situation for their animals.

fair sign A Walk On The Wild Side

From June  through  September, A Walk on the Wild Side visits fairs and festivals throughout the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California, where they display big cats in chain-link cages and sell $30 photos with tiny cubs. The “sanctuary” is a paying member of the Western Fairs Association and the Oregon Fairs Association, where their listing promises fairs “the ultimate feature attraction, education program and crowd pleaser. Exotic animals from all over the world. Lions & tigers, adults & babies.”

Fair Exhibit A Walk On The Wild Side
A Walk on the Wild Side estimates that over 2 million people visit their exhibit each year, and have no qualms about renting out animals for private parties or displaying them at large festivals featuring fireworks and blaring rock music.  They try to justify this by claiming that their rescued animals are never taken to fairs and that their “ambassador animals” were all hand-raised, but no reputable sanctuary  would subject any big cat to the noise and stress of a county fair, or rescue some animals while exploiting others.

Fair Exhibit A Walk On The Wild Side

bobcat at fair A Walk On The Wild SideSacramento County Fair tiger A Walk On The Wild Side

 

Fairground tiger exhibit A Walk On The Wild Side

The above photos were taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s fairground exhibit.

Geoffroy Cat A Walk On The Wild Side

This young Geoffrey’s Cat was being displayed at a fair in a baby stroller.

Selling Photos with Cubs:

During the fair season, A Walk on the Wild Side has a seemingly constant supply of baby big cats, to the point that their staff are expected to work “solely with big cats between the ages of six and 16 weeks.” These cubs are used as photo props in A Walk on the Wild Side’s jungle-themed photo booth, which charges fairgoers $30 to pet and take a photo with a baby tiger, lion, cougar, bobcat, serval, or lynx. Cub-petting is an extremely irresponsible and inhumane practice which no true sanctuary condones. 

cub petting ad on website A Walk On The Wild Side

A screenshot from A Walk on the Wild Side’s website. Legitimate sanctuaries do not provide animals for events, breed cubs, or allow the public to handle animals.

In an industry newsletter, A Walk on the Wild Side writes that their exhibit cubs “are usually given anywhere from 10-12 hours of hands-on, daily interaction by our handlers.” That’s virtually constant handling of a baby that needs to rest, roam, and play to develop properly. Pictures taken at their photo booth show cubs with open sores on their noses from rubbing their faces on the bars of  their travel crates, and although the exhibit claims that the cubs “only work when they want to,” a local news segment filmed at the Oregon State Fair shows a growling, squirming 12-week-old tiger cub named  Siri desperately struggling to escape from the arms of a newscaster while Steve Higgs encourages viewers to pay to hold the cub, too.  The cub is so visibly distressed that the news station’s description for the footage admits that “[the] baby tiger wasn’t happy at all about being held.” In 2015, A Walk on the Wild Side encouraged people to visit their farm to pet a tiger cub that was 15 weeks old, past the 12-week age limit established by federal USDA guidelines.

Cub with open sore A Walk On The Wild Side

Photos of A Walk on the Wild Side’s fair exhibit cubs show visible wounds on the animals’ noses.

photo cub with injured nose A Walk On The Wild Side

Photos of A Walk on the Wild Side’s fair exhibit cubs show visible wounds on the animals’ noses.

tiny lynx cub petting A Walk On The Wild Side

A very tiny lynx kitten being exploited by A Walk on the Wild Side at a fair.

Occasionally, baby bobcats, servals, and cougars are also used as photo props.

Occasionally, baby bobcats, servals, and cougars are also used as photo props.

Occasionally, baby bobcats, servals, and cougars are also used as photo props.

Struggling cub on news A Walk On The Wild Side

This extremely stressed tiger cub was filmed at a fair by a local news outlet.

Although A Walk on the Wild Side tells patrons and the media that their cubs were “rescued”,  many are bred on-site (the facility brags about having “breeding programs with other places”) or are purchased from disreputable private breeders and roadside zoos, including Dade City’s Wild Things and Living Treasures Wild Animal Park. And while signs posted at the cub photo booth claim that the money raised by selling photos “benefits the animals”, A Walk on the Wild Side’s promotional video informs fairs that “the point of all this is to have a fun and profitable experience,” and exhibit staff have been caught boasting in profanity-laced Facebook posts about how “exploiting their animals” has made them “so rich” —  even as their facility claims to not have enough money to build permanent enclosures for their animals.

Admitting that exploitation makes them rich A Walk On The Wild Side


Would an employee of a responsible sanctuary ever post something like this?

Once the cubs are too large to use for photo-ops,  A Walk on the Wild Side sometimes sells them to other private owners and backyard zoos. In an industry newsletter, an employee of A Walk on the Wild Side admits: “We often agree to take in cubs, feed, house, love, and raise them temporarily, so that they can properly and safely be placed with another accredited facility to live out their lives.  We have donated many cubs to smaller zoos throughout the Northwest.”  This directly contradicts the feel-good claims made on their website that A Walk on the Wild Side “provides a home for life” for their animals, and perpetuates the cruel cycle of “breed, exploit, and dump” that true sanctuaries are trying to end.

Deliberately misleading “education”:

Like most exhibitors, A Walk on the Wild Side claims that they exist to educate people about wildlife. But instead of teaching patrons about the role that their animals play in the wild, explaining that wild animals make poor pets, or that the private trade in big cats is harmful, they’ve stated that their primary goal is to “educate the public about responsible animal ownership.Their exhibit is designed to “teach” people that their big cats don’t belong in the wild, and that the breeding, exploitation, and trade of endangered animals by private owners is a form of “conservation,” even though virtually all reputable conservation groups warn that it’s not.

Misleading education at cub petting booth A Walk On The Wild Side

At their exhibit, A Walk on the Wild Side displays a large “educational” poster that says “So You Think They Belong in the Wild…” The poster was written by a group which lobbies for the private ownership and trade of big cats, and makes the inaccurate claims that “the wild” no longer exists, that accredited zoos “aren’t doing enough” to save species, and that the only way to save tigers from extinction is with the “help” of private owners, breeders, and exhibitors. Another sign, posted on the cage of what A Walk on the Wild Side claims is a Barbary Lion, includes virtually no information about the species, and instead features a generic message “informing” readers that “legislation trends which threaten to ban private ownership of endangered species” would “speed their extinction.” These claims have been debunked by real conservationists, who warn that the private trade in endangered species is harmful, not helpful.

And what about the cub interactions? A Walk on the Wild Side claims that allowing the public to physically handle an animal increases the public’s knowledge and support of the species. But in a video advertising their cub photo booth, A Walk on the Wild Side mentions that “many people ask us if they can take the tiger home” — not the kind of “educational message”  a sanctuary should be sending.

Animal Welfare Concerns:

When not being exhibited at fairs, A Walk on the Wild Sides’ 174+ exotic animals live at a farm in Canby, Oregon that is being leased from a local concrete company. The big cats appear to be housed in rows of tiny, gravel-floored chain link dog runs with no natural vegetation and poor drainage. In some cases, enclosures are held together with plastic zip-ties and rope. These enclosures are perfectly legal under USDA regulations, which is why having USDA “accreditation” is nothing for a facility to brag about.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

 

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side's pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

Photo taken at A Walk on the Wild Side’s pseudo sanctuary in Canby, Oregon.

 

A Walk on the Wild Side has racked up at least 8 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act since 2009, including failure to provide inspectors with animal transfer records; inexperienced staff; failure to maintain adequate barriers between the public and tigers; and failure to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and housing.

According to USDA inspection records, one of the staff, as of December 2009, only had 3 months of on the job experience working with big cats, and liked to let the cats “comb his hair.”  In 2014, an inspector found that an enclosure holding a pig, a red fox and two young tigers contained excessive water after an overnight rainstorm, leaving the animals without adequate dry space (she noted that plans were in place to remedy the problem later that day). In September of 2012, A Walk on the Wild Side was written up for failing to maintain adequate separation between animals and the public after a spectator at an expo approached a transport cage holding an adult tiger and touched the animal’s face.
Multiple pictures taken behind-the-scenes at the “sanctuary” and posted online show staff members holding metal pipes, wooden canes, and broom handles while “walking” an adolescent tiger on multiple leashes and chains. Another photo, taken from A Walk on the Wild Side’s promotional video, shows an adolescent lion that appears to have an abrasion on its nose being walked on a rope.

Handlers with chain and metal pipe A Walk On The Wild Side

Handlers with chain and metal pipe A Walk On The Wild Side

Cheryl Jones walking tiger A Walk On The Wild Side

Cheryl Jones walking tiger A Walk On The Wild Side

A Walk On The Wild Side Weapons

A Walk On The Wild Side Weapons

injured lion on leash A Walk On The Wild Side

Injured lion on leash A Walk On The Wild Side

A Walk on the Wild Side’s Canby facility was open to the public until county officials closed it in spring 2015 due to multiple code violations. Visitors who went there have left near-unanimous negative reviews, to the point where the organization has only one star on Google. There, reviewers have referred to it as a “roadside circus attraction” and complained that the cats “are kept in cages far too small for the animal in question,” while Yelp reviews of the farm detail horrific neglect, as evidenced by these excerpts:

I felt sorry for these animals and wonder how they got a license to keep them. The animals were dirty and  some had very little shelter from the rain and cold.

There are no words. This place is absolutely disgusting, and I’m not even sure that it’s actually legal. The exotic tigers are in Huge dog kennels, it was really frightening. The poor exotic cats were in smaller dog kennel cages and their cages were filthy!!! The place smelled sooo horrible as well.

[The animals] were in small dirty cages and seemed distressed. One rabbit we saw had a vicious infection in it’s ears. It was quite disturbing. My girlfriend and I were debating making a call to some agency to investigate their operation.

I visited here last October and it made me sick to my stomach. They have a “farm” aka huge amount of animals there being horribly neglected. They have Lions, a Tiger, and a camel, all kept outdoors in Oregon cold and rain. They also have caged housecats, bobcats, and tons of wild animals that… …shouldn’t be living in small chicken wire cages in the rain and cold.

One of the most recent animal welfare complaints against A Walk on the Wild Side comes from a nearby donkey rescue, which in January 2016 received multiple concerned calls about over 25 donkeys (including pregnant females and foals) which were being kept by Steve Higgs out in the winter elements with no shelter and little food and water. When confronted by the sanctuary, Higgs stated that he had “rescued” the donkeys from several surrounding states and planned to use them for breeding and moneymaking schemes. Attempts by the donkey rescue to help the animals by offering water and hay were rejected by Higgs, who insisted that donkeys “do not need shelter” and warned that any further attempts to help his animals would be considered trespassing. When the donkey sanctuary updated their Facebook followers on the situation, A Walk on the Wild Side threatened to sue for “slander.”

Hostility towards critics:

While genuine sanctuaries protect animals from exploitation and welcome questions about their animals, A Walk on the Wild Side advocates for the use of big cats in entertainment and is extremely hostile and rude towards anyone who has concerns about their animals’ welfare. Facebook postings by the “sanctuary” openly support the use of elephants and big cats in circus acts, accuse all responsible sanctuaries and animal welfare groups of being “PETA” and “killing animals,” and mock those who disagree with them, stating that “we welcome positive comments and opinions, not those from uneducated people!This is not the behavior of a professional organization.

Negative comments left on A Walk on the Wild Side’s Facebook page are removed and the original poster blocked, while negative reviews are “responded to” by staff taking a screenshot of the review and posting it on the page with insults. Here are some screenshots from their Facebook page. None of them are things that professional animal rescue organizations would ever post:

Pro Circus A Walk On The Wild Side

facebook3 A Walk On The Wild Side

Here, A Walk on the Wild Side accuses The Elephant Sanctuary, a legitimate, GFAS-accredited sanctuary for retired performing elephants, of being “PETA/HSUS”, even though it has no affiliation with either group. The poster’s suggestion that A Walk on the Wild Side model their responsible behavior by not exploiting animals is dismissed as an “uneducated opinion.

mocking critics online A Walk On The Wild Side

This person posted a link to a news article about A Walk on the Wild Side’s Canby location being shut down due to multiple code violations and urged the Portland Rose Festival to reconsider hosting their exhibit. A Walk on the Wild Side rejected the contents of the article as another “opinion” and mocked the poster, calling her an “uneducated hateful person.

admitting theyre not a sanctuary A Walk On The Wild Side

Here, A Walk on the Wild Side admits that they are not a sanctuary, while shaming and threatening the original reviewer for “online bullying” and leaving a “false review”.

Unfortunately, A Walk on the Wild Side’s online hostility often extends to the real world. There have been multiple reports of A Walk on the Wild Side staff responding to fairgoers’ honest questions and concerns with rude and threatening language that occasionally turns into physical violence. Google reviewers frequently mention that the staff are “mean“, and one mother who visited the exhibit at a festival complained that she was “screamed at by the most repulsive, delusional, and disgusting woman I have ever met.” Another reviewer states that they “happily berate anyone who might disagree or ask a question about the morality of what they do… …they support animals in the circus, and only laugh when you ask about their stance on the abuse those animals go through.” A patron who tried to film the conditions the animals were living in reports being forcibly “escorted out” of the exhibit, and one of A Walk on the Wild Side’s staff recently bragged on Facebook about telling a concerned patron “that he sounds like a PETA freak who needs to be kicked in the nuts!

When a group of animal welfare activists asked Cheryl Jones and Steve Higgs some honest questions about the living conditions of their animals at a 2009 fair, “the only answer they could give was attempting to shout us down and threats of calling 911. Cheryl Jones then struck me and could only respond to us by calling us “PETA lovers” and claiming they were “educating children about animals.When Canby police arrived Cheryl and Steve demanded we be arrested. Canby police politely upheld our first amendment rights.

Connections with roadside zoos and the pet trade:

Responsible sanctuaries do not breed more animals for a lifetime of captivity or support the underregulated private trade which is driving the captive big cat crisis. But in a newsletter published by the deceptively-named Feline Conservation Federation; a  group which advocates for the “right” of private individuals to breed, own, and use exotic cats for entertainment; an employee of Walk on the Wild Side states that their facility’s goal is to “…advocate for private ownership and continue our mission of healthy captive breeding.

A Walk on the Wild Side is very connected with private breeders and roadside zoos, including the notorious Joe Schreibvogel, and have bragged about their “breeding program” with unspecified overseas facilities. Its staff  have directed  prospective “pet” owners looking for a specific cat to their network of wild and exotic animal breeders, and A Walk on the Wild Side’s Facebook page has encouraged people to visit disreputable private zoos such as the Zoological Wildlife Foundation and Dade City Wild Things, calling them “great facilities.” Criticism of any of these “friends” is not tolerated. When a family member of A Walk on the Wild Side employee posted a Facebook comment concerned about screaming tiger cubs being forced to “swim” with tourists at Dade City Wild Things, the employee explained that the abusive attraction “is a friend” of their facility and responded with this rant:
Do you support our allowing the public to get a picture with a lion/tiger cub? And these people paying? And often [our cubs] cry…it’s not “crying” it’s literally the form of communication.  And have you not seen the “negative” comments our fB page had received lately? Lots of negatives. And no they don’t list themselves as “PETA” but clearly they are uneducated individuals who are following along like sheep. Leaving bogus, false, comments/accusations on individuals Business pages, should be illegal! FYI I picked up Kira [a tiger cub], at the age of 4 weeks [from Dade City’s Wild Things]. Along with her sibling who went to West Coast Game Park. If your post such comments on my page, about fellow animal facilities that we support then I’m deleting you. Cause frankly, Cheryl would not approve of such things being posted either. You saying/posting what you are makes us look bad as well. And FYI we ourselves plan (in the future) tiger swims. I hope you or none of your family ask for one, as I will remind you of your comments.”

To sum it up, this “sanctuary” openly advocates for the private breeding and exploitation of exotic animals, houses them in substandard conditions, and bullies anyone who questions their practices or their industry. Events that host them are supporting the private ownership and trade of endangered big cats, and NOT a responsible rescue.

 

 

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Posted on Mar 2, 2017 in News Feed | 0 comments

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife Movie

The Zookeeper’s Wife movie was filmed in Prague, and the animals came from Ludvík Berousek, a breeder and trainer who rents out exotic animals for film shoots.
Berousek runs a private zoo, Zoopark Doksy, where guests can pay to hold big cat cubs.
He is also the current owner and animal trainer for Circus Bernes, which his family founded eight generations ago.
Circus Bernes contains many archaic animal acts, including lion/tiger shows, performing monkeys, and muzzled bears walking on balls.
Berousek also runs the website http://www.exoticanimalsforsale.biz/, where he sells exotic animals, including adult lions and tigers, only to overseas buyers. This could be a violation of CITES if he’s not doing it with the proper documentation.

Let Jessica Chastain’s agent and manager know that you do NOT approve of the use of wild cats for such films, nor her cub petting photos, which just encourages others to abuse big cats.

TALENT AGENT
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Representatives (2)

http://www.caa.com
+1 424 288 2000 phone
+1 424 288 2900 fax
info@caa.com
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

 

MANAGER
Mosaic
Paul Nelson

+1 310 786 4900 phone
+1 310 777 2185 fax
9200 W Sunset Blvd
10th Fl
Los Angeles, CA 90069

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Posted on Jan 13, 2017 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Promised Land Zoo

Promised Land Zoo

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

PROMISED LAND ZOO BRANSON
Customer No: 329566
Certificate No: 43-C-0352

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo opened in 2013 as a sister park to Promised Land Zoo in Eagle Rock, MO. Both parks are for-profit businesses that are owned and operated by Jeff and Diane Sanders and their daughter, Laura Remenar, and her husband, Joshua Remenar. The facility boasts about allowing the public to handle baby dangerous animals, such as tigers, in what’s known as Pay To Play or cub handling. They are also buying and selling exotic animals as pets, for entertainment purposes, and for slaughter. They are the self-proclaimed “largest producer of African Caracals in the US.” Their various USDA licenses have accumulated violations for having no record of attending veterinarian visits, no veterinary care plan, no program of environment enhancement for non-human primates, animals with excessively long hooves, expired vaccines, failure to have a knowledgeable adequately trained employee responsible for big cats on public display, rodent feces present in feed storage building, failing to provide an adequate barrier between animals and the public, allowing their license to lapse, and failure to provide an adequate perimeter fence.

Photos of cub handling from their Facebook page

The Sanders, Remenars, and their many company names are also selling exotic animals on websites and social media under the name Eagle Rock Exotics. Eagle Rock Exotics sells “hoofstock, primates, cats and more” on ExoticAnimalsForSale.net. http://www.exoticanimalsforsale.net/animalbreeders/missouri-animal-breeders.asp.

Animals are sold into a variety of situations including allegedly being slaughtered for meat, the exotic pet trade, or performing animal companies. For example, there have been numerous situations of animals being sold online – sometimes even using Facebook (pictured).

One lemur was sold into the pet trade to Libby and Robert Brozovich in 2008. No USDA license is listed under Brozovich on the USDA website, and if the Brozovichs don’t have a license that means there are no federal inspectors visiting their primates to ensure they are being properly cared for.

In 2007, Libby Brozovich was publicly accused of not taking care of her primates after she brought a monkey to public park where it bit at least two children (http://archive.columbiatribune.com/2007/nov/20071102News011.asp).

That means Promised Land Zoo sold a primate to the Brozovichs even after they had been in the news for their irresponsible and dangerous handling practices less than one year prior. (Libby’s husband, Robert Brozovich, is also named as a convicted sex offender in the article)

Eventually the lemur sold to the Brozovichs was finally donated to a sanctuary. By that point the current owners claimed the lemur had at least five different owners they were aware of before it finally found a permanent home.

Another animal that was once owned by Promised Land Zoo was a sloth that later ended up with the Jeff Musial with Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics. Nickel City Reptiles uses animals as entertainment for TV shows, commercials, birthday parties and corporate events. Jeffrey Musial has been cited by the USDA for animal housing in disrepair, failure to keep a marmoset enclosure free of grime and debris, failing to maintain housing with an appropriate temperature after chinchillas were found in an aquarium in an 86 degree facility, failure to allow freedom of movement by housing two camels in 12×12 stall, failure to provide enough space for an African crested porcupine, and failure to maintain disposition and acquisition records on several animals.

One USDA inspection reported stated that “the facility does not have disposition records for the cavy’s, palm civet’s, and genets that were sold.” (These records are a USDA licensing requirement.) This exposes their participation in the sale of exotic animals and makes it impossible for the USDA to track the animals if no records are maintained.

A variety of business and personal names have been used by the Sanders and Remenars on different USDA licenses and many licenses have accumulated violations.

 

USDA Licenses and Violations:

Diane Sanders – 43-B-0311

Diane Sanders – 43-C-0245

Diane and Jeff Sanders – 43-C-0361

Promised Land Zoo – 43-C-0352

 

In March 2014, the facility was cited by the USDA for failure to have a knowledgable, adequately trained employee responsible for an adult lion and 7-week-old tiger cub during public exhibition.

FOIA request on Promised Land from 2014

When their license lapped with the USDA they continued to operate and be open to the public. (page 1)

Cited for not keeping a barrier between animals and the viewing public in 2013. (page 3)

Cited for “failure to provide adequate barriers between the animals and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of the animals and the public”, “failure to maintain the housing facilities structurally sound, and maintained in good repair to protect animals from injury”, “failure to provide an adequate perimeter fence of sufficient height to keep animals and unauthorized persons out and to serve as a secondary containment” (page 10)

Citation for lack of trained handler mentioned by HSUS above (page 27)

2011 USDA inspection of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

Cited for no record of attending vet visits and no vet care plan, inadequate fencing, no program of environment enhancement for non-human primates, rodent feces present in feed storage building.

2013 USDA inspection of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

 

2014 USDA inspection of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

Improper handling of cubs

 

2015 USDA inspection of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

Cited for expired cat vaccines and inattention to routine animal care.

 

Overview of Missouri’s Dangerous Wild Animal Law, Incidents, and Problem Exhibitors

See attached Overview of Missouri’s Dangerous Wild Animal Law, Incidents, and Problem Exhibitors

 

Cub Handling Images are What Drives the Trade in Big Cats

 

No legitimate sanctuary or zoo allows public contact with exotic cats.  These are a couple of  cub handling photos and posts on social media, including taking cubs to chamber meetings and media stations of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo using cubs to attract attention to themselves.

 

Serval on a leash being touched by swarm of kids

BransonsPromisedLandZooCubHandlingServal

BPLZ proclaiming they are “the largest producer of African Caracals in the US’

Bransons Promised Land Zoo

 

 

Conversation with a member of the public reporting that they raise their animals for meat and that animals don’t have rights.

BransonsPromisedLandZoo2

 

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo Boasts of Baby Encounters

You have to ask why their mother cats all seem to reject their cubs?

March 1, 2014

BransonsPromisedLandZoo1“Our newest addition to the zoo is…a baby Bengal Tiger! His name is Bruce Lee and he’ll be on exhibit throughout the day here in Branson.”

 

March 3, 2013

“Jungle Josh and the Amazing Aubrey on KOLR 10 this afternoon at 4pm or channel 27 with Bruce the Bengal Tiger!”

 

March 4, 2014

“Baby Bengal Tiger revealed at Promised Land Zoo
A baby Bengal tiger was revealed to the public at Promised Land Zoo on Saturday morning, much to the delight of a fascinated audience, who reacted with lots of “oohs and ahhhs” and interesting questions. “He is very special to us,” said “Jungle Josh” Remenar, Animal Exhibitions Manager at Promised Land Zoos. “This is a baby Bengal tiger, and his name is Bruce Lee,” he said, as the tiger scurried out of a kennel and onto the stage. Remenar allowed spectators to come to the edge of the stage without touching the tiger. “For a lot of you, this is as close as you’ll ever be to a tiger,” he said. “He is only six weeks old.” Remenar then revealed more news that excited the crowd. “On March 12, when he is old enough, we are going to start what we call Tiger Time. You’ll be able to hold the tiger and get a picture. We haven’t ironed out the details, but you’ll be able to play with the tiger for a short time, and your whole family will be able to take a picture with him,” he said. The audience was full of interesting questions: Will he live here his whole life? How large will he become? Where are his parents? “His mom is in northern Missouri. She did not want Bruce,” he explained.

BransonsPromisedLandZoo2“The reason we are so proud of him is because tigers are going extinct very fast. There were originally nine sub-species of tigers. Three of them are now extinct completely, and one is extinct in the wild. Only in captivity are they alive. So that leaves five sub-species of tigers, and between all five sub-species, there’s less than 4,500 in the wild.”  “We would like to get started on a breeding program and try to keep this species alive,” he added.  According to Remenar, the tiger may get as large as 500 pounds, and within a couple of years, he will likely be moved to a larger facility. “When he is very large, he will probably go to our other park, which is 120 acres,” he said. Bruce Lee is now on exhibit at the zoo.  The Branson Promised Land Zoo is home to many rare and endangered animals and features big cats, monkeys, kangaroos, camels, zebras, reptiles, birds and other species from around the world. The zoo offers a foot safari, live animal shows, parakeet paradise, and bottle feedings, all included in admission. Also new for 2014 is a show hosted by Jungle Josh where visitors can pet, and in some cases, feed their favorite animals while learning more about them. The Zoo also hosts “Exclusive Animal Encounters” that allow guests hold a baby monkey, or to pet rare animals like two-toed sloths or kangaroos, for an additional fee. Guests may sign up for one of these unique experiences when they check in, or by calling Laura Remenar at 417-342-4800.  “Through interaction with some of the most exclusive animals on the planet, we are able to promote animal education and conservation of so many species that need our help,” she said. Each encounter comes with a tour of the nutrition center and meet-and-greet of the zoo show animals.  More information and zoo hours is available online at plzoo.com. The zoo is located at 2751 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway.
— By Michael J. Frost
mfrost@selectbranson.com

(3 photos)”

 

 

 

BransonsPromisedLandZoo3March 4, 2014

(shared by PLZ March 4, but posted by Laura Sanders March 3)

“Bruce prepping for his big TV debut. At kokr 10.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2014

“Jungle Josh, Buckaroo Brice and Bruce Lee the Baby Bengal Tiger on Power 96.5 today at 7am! Listen!! — in Springfield, MO.”

 

 

 

 

BransonsPromisedLandZoo7March 7, 2014

Now Booking Tiger Times with Bruce the Baby Bengal Tiger….
http://www.plzoo.com/tigertime.html

Comments:

Jay Wohlert: Where did Bruce come from?

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo : Tiger Time starts March 12th!  Sign up today and cross this off your bucket list!  info@plzoo.com

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo: His mother of course!  He was born in state during one of our polar vortexes and his mother did not take him!  Luckily, she was being monitored and Bruce was given a fighting chance! He’s now 7 weeks old and actually started eating solids just the other day.

 

Background Information

Branson Chamber Facebook post February 11

“We enjoy visiting with our Chamber Members and today was no exception! Please meet our Chamber Member Sebastian an African Serval cat from Branson’s Promised Land ZOO!”

Posting by Laura Sanders-Remenar December 18, 2013
“African Serval kittens will be available for Exclusive Encounters beginning January 1st! Schedule your encounter now…limited availability. 417-337-9453”

 

Want to put an end to these cruel pay to play schemes?  Take action at BigCatAct.com now!

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Posted on Dec 5, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name, Most Wanted | 2 comments

Big Cat Habitat Kay Rosaire Clay Rosaire Circus

Big Cat Habitat Kay Rosaire Clay Rosaire Circus

Five Generations of Circus Acts that Exploit Tigers and Other Big Cats

Rosaire Taunting Tiger with Baton

Rosaire Taunting Tiger with Baton

You can pretty much tell how much a person has to hide by how many names they operate under.  Finding USDA reports on this facility and the Rosaire family has been one of the hardest because they keep changing names, changing locations and changing license numbers.  To further exacerbate the situation Rosaire uses a P.O. Box for her USDA entity that houses the big cats making it hard for the average person to find anything on her without knowing her USDA license number.  The following is just the beginning of an effort to bring all of their past into one time line to the best of our ability given the lack of government oversite and dismal record keeping.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this research has been how the public can pay to see her forcing the cats to perform and then believe her when she claims that her tigers were rescued.  She rescues from herself.  They are tigers bred by her for use as props who are then relegated to tiny, barren cages.  Most of these only have a tarp for shade.  In 2009 she claimed on her USDA renewal to have 18 tigers, 8 lions, 2 leopards, 1 cougar and 1 bobcat as well as an assortment of other exotic animals.  If you go to her facility you will see that all of these animals are crammed into a very small patch of her property.

Her inspector is Richard Botehlo who rarely reports anything wrong at her facility.  See the whistleblower report filed against USDA by Richard Botehlo below and you will begin to understand why inspectors do not report most of the violations they see.

 

Photos by Dee DeSantis

USDA Violations

2009 March 19 Rosaire license 58-C-0908 cited for failure to properly identify the dogs and failure to provide proper storage of their food to keep it free of vermin.  A dog was being housed in 4.8 square feet of space when the USDA minimum for a dog his size was 6.67 square feet.  USDA regulations only require that the animal be able to stand up and turn around in their cages and Rosaire was not meeting even this barest of minimums.

2009 May 19 Pamela and Roger Zoppe have their USDA license 58-C-501 cancelled.  Their DBA and address at the time was Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees 5317 Fruitville Road #175 Sarasota, FL 34232

2009 June 22 Pamela and Roger Zoppe pop back up with a new USDA number at the same name and address 58-C-0936

2009 July 7 Rosaire license  58-C-0387 cited for three violations including a freezer that was not working properly where animal food was stored, bears being separated only by use of hot wire where they could reach through and harm each other and bears being kept in such small cages that they could not get out of their own excrement.

2009 October 13  Rosaire license  58-C-0387 cited that a young bear was being kept in a cage where he could not freely stand up and turn around, which is all that the USDA mandates.

2010 June 19 Rosaire license 58-C-0908 cited for one performing dog having an untreated cut above his eye, and 7 dogs being forced to perform in temperatures above 85 degrees (regulation restriction) where the heat index was 107 and one dog was being kept in a cage that only measured 9.69 sf of floor space with USDA regs require 12.25 sf of space.  The dog was 3 feet long, so even the minimun requirement was only 3 feet by 4 feet.  Rosaire wasn’t even providing the barest minimum of space.

2010 September 25 Rosaire license 58-C-908 cited for a repeat violation of not properly identifying dogs with license tags.  The reason USDA regulates this sort of thing is to prevent “bunchers” from stealing dogs and selling them to labs for experimentation.

UniverSoul Circus does not possess an exhibitor license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animals are leased from outside companies, including Tarzan Zerbini Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, Kay Rosaire, Bucky Steele, Rosaire-Zoppe Chimps, and Mitchel Kalmanson, so that the pages and pages of cited violations they have incurred are obscured through multiple owners, names and entities.

Rosaire’s Known Licenses and Aliases

Florida 3092 58-C-0387 Rosaire, David David Rosaire’s Perky Pekes P.O. Box 50094 Sarasota 34232 license issued 6/1998

Florida 2998 58-C-0496 Rosaire, Ross Derrick & Kay Rosaires Bears Po Box 346 Myakka City 34251

Florida 9309 58-C-0769 Rosaire, Wayne Rosaires Royal Racers Po Box 338 Bostwick 32007 this is for 14 racing pigs

Florida 3121 58-C-0367 Rosaire-Mowrey, Kay Rosaire-Mowrey Family P O Box 50217 Sarasota 34232 license issued 10/1990

Florida 6648 58-C-0608 Zoppe, Andrea 3074 Myrtle Sarasota 34234 last inspection was in 2008 for 6 dogs

Florida 13162 58-C-0908 Zoppe, Dallas 3115 44th St Sarasota 34234

Florida 3009 58-C-0501 Zoppe, Pamela & Roger Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees Sarasota 34232

Florida 3009 58-C-0936 Zoppe, Pamela & Roger Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzees Sarasota 34232

Florida 3175 58-C-0868 Arneberg, James Arnberg Super Dog Show 7101 Palmer Blvd Sarasota 34234 this is the physical address for the tigers

Florida 32030 58-C-0832 Dymek, Kazinerz Party Animals Petting Zoo Llc 901 East Rd Sarasota 34240 SunBiz registered to Rosaire no inspection since 2009

The following are USDA licensees in Sarasota that may or may not be affiliated with Rosaire. These are still being evaluated.

Florida 1874 58-C-0012 Zerbini, Alain Alain Zerbini Circus Production 3327 51st St. Sarasota 34235
Florida 40523 58-C-0886 Svensson, Carlos 7419 Prospect Rd Sarasota 34243
Florida 7398 58-C-0629 Castano, Raul Swap Shop 151 Verna Road Sarasota 34240
Florida 32762 58-C-0905 Creadon, Peggy Pony Parties Of Sarasota 7034 Westwood Dr Sarasota 34241
Florida 3883 58-C-0788 Donoho, Georgina P. O. Box 1418 Sarasota 34230
Florida 38355 58-C-0878 Esqueda, Alfonso Sulo Esqueda Brother Circus 935 N Beneva Rd S609 #43 Sarasota 34232
Florida 38122 58-C-0876 Fornasari, Tosca 3322 Oak Grove Dr Sarasota 34243
Florida 33721 58-C-0845 Garcia, Katherine Star Family Circus 2621 Ridge Ave Sarasota 34235
Florida 18946 58-C-0753 Juchno, James 745 N Pompano Ave Sarasota 34237
Florida 10034 58-C-0664 Klose, Hans & Adele Adeles Canine Review 4600 Sloan Ave Sarasota 34233
Florida 20089 58-C-0852 Markov, Andrey 5136 Indian Mound St Sarasota 34232
Florida 31471 58-C-0841 Maya Panfilova, Andriy Bilobrov & 2250 Gulf Gate Dr Suite A Sarasota 34231

 

More on Kay Rosaire http://reporter.911animalabuse.com/service/searchEverything.kickAction?keywords=rosaire&includeVideo=on&includeAudio=on&includePhoto=on&includeBlog=on&includeUser=on&includeGroups=on&includeMessages=on&includeSets=on&as=23072&sortType=relevance
Kay Rosaire and her son Clay Rosaire do not rescue cats, but rather are a part of the problem rather than the solution. They do not walk the talk and these pages will tell you more about them:

http://reporter.911animalabuse.com /kickapps/service/searchEverything.kickAction?keyw ords= rosaire&includeVideo=on& amp;includeAudio=on&includePhoto=on&includ eBlog=on&includeUser=on&includeGroups=on&a mp;includeMessages=on&as=23072

 

This is nothing more than an antiquated “carnie” circus.

Thankfully, in this more enlightened age of animal compassion, the market for these animal abusive displays is dwindling. Most people realize that there is nothing “educational” about seeing infant or adultwild animals caged, transported from venue to venue, “tamed” using abusive methods, existing solely as a profit center for a business.They watch Animal Planet, they visit truly accredited rescue sanctuaries, they are more aware of the reality of life for these imprisoned animals. In short, they are more educated and will look at anyone promoting them as irresponsible. (please note below the negative publicity that fairs have received as a result of displaying captive wildlife from leased organizations and the truth behind these displays)

Kay Rosaire ‘s organization is not accredited and has been cited by the government for the abusive conditions in which their animals are kept. At a USDA Big Cat Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas on March 26, 2003, Kay Rosaire made this statement on stage: “To keep a tiger off you, you just poke ’em real hard with a pitchfork a time or two and show ’em who’s boss. Then they’ll get the message.”

These two articles will give you background on what the Rosaire ‘s are really about.

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/ s/0articlesbybcr/2008DyingToBeHeld.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/circus tigers.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/ s/0articlesbybcr/claws_and_effect.htm

The animals have no voice, but you do, and you can still do so much to put an end to their abuse.

 

USDA Whistle Blower Report

January 5, 2005

Richard Botelho Jr, Animal Care Inspector for the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Heath Inspection Service, Animal Care agency, has filed a whistle blower complaint against USDA with the US government “Office of Special Counsel,” dated January 4, 2005.

As an animal care inspector and citizen of the United States, Richard Botelho Jr, believes the public needs to be aware of the prohibited practices by the Animal Care’s management at the eastern regional office. The OSC whistle blower complaint alleges multiple violations of federal regulations and law, gross mismanagement and waste of funds at Animal Care’s eastern regional office in Raleigh, NC.

The Animal Care agency is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, which is federal legislation that ensures the humane care and treatment of certain warm blooded and exotic/wild animals. Animal Care conducts routine inspections at facilities that use regulated animals in research, exhibited to the public, sold wholesale and retail and transported. Licensed facilities would include but are not limited to zoos, circuses, wholesale dog / cat breeders, exhibitors, exotic / wild animal dealers and exhibitors to include transporters. Animal Care’s Mission Statement: AC provides leadership in establishing acceptable standards of humane animal care and treatment and to monitor and achieve compliance with the Animal Welfare Act through inspections, education, and cooperative efforts. Unfortunately, records show in the last several years Animal Care in the eastern region has failed to use enforcement to achieve compliance.

This lack of enforcement has caused more prolonged health and welfare problems for animals that AC is required to protect by the federal Animal Welfare Act. The lack of enforcement has also caused more incidents with potentially dangerous animals and the public. Animal Care in the eastern region is failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, which is endangering the animals we are responsible to protect to ensure adequate care and treatment. Failing to enforce the minimum standards and regulations of the AWA, has harmful risks to the animals and to the public. Potentially dangerous animal are being allowed to be exhibited to the public without direct control of a handler(s), sufficient distance or barrier between the animals and the public.

The OSC complaint states the Eastern Regional Office allows licensee’s with a history of repeat noncompliance’s to operate without any legal action against such licensees. Evidence shows that Animal Care paid consultation fees to a licensee to consult with a facility which had a history of repeat noncompliance’s. Repeat violators of the AWA are seldom given warnings. When legal action is taken against violators, only a fraction of the proposed fine is given by a stipulation agreement. The licensee does not have to admit to the history of repeated violations when they accept a stipulation agreement.. Even when the investigation shows the licensee has repeatedly violated the AWA, which affected the health and welfare of the animals and or public, Animal Care issues a warning or small stipulation. Facilities often accept these stipulations and continue to violate the AWA minimum standards and regulations year after year, stating it’s just the cost of doing business. Even after facilities pay multiple stipulations they continue to violate the AWA without any further action by Animal Care. USDA licenses are rarely revoked and commonly renewed, even when facilities have a history multiple repeat violations and not in compliance. Research facilities pay thousands of dollars in stipulations which usually cost the taxpayers, because the research with animals is mainly funded by the US government.

Inspectors request warning letters and investigations for repeat violators of the AWA from Animal Care management, never toreceive such requests, and without any reply to the inspector. There are several lawsuits against Animal Care from animal welfare groups for allegedly failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, which may cost the taxpayers thousand of dollars in attorney and settlement fees. The eastern regional office has issued far less warning letters and stipulations than the western regional office. Recently there was an audit by USDA, Office of Inspector General of the eastern regional office, due to the lack of enforcement issued to facilities. This audit should now be available by FOIA.

The whistle blower complaint states the eastern regional office superiors hire inspectors in areas which are fully staffed. Inspectors with a lack of facilities and work are often sent to other inspectors facilities and paid for travel and lodging. Yet, other inspectors,with over a hundred facilities more than other inspectors, which have not inspected facilities for several years, are not given additional inspectors for their territories.

The OSC complaint states Inspectors are often approved to visit other cities and states, just to visit relatives or site see, as long as they conduct inspections in that requested territory. These visits are paid by Animal Care, the taxpayers dollars. In most circumstances the inspector assigned to that territory has never requested any additional help from his or her superior.

The whistle blower complaint states the eastern regional office of Animal Care purchases laptop computers, digital cameras, and other equipment when the current inventory are in excellent working condition. Unnecessary purchases are made before the end of the fiscal year to spend what monies are left in Animal Care’s budget.

The OSC complaint states inspectors were verbally reprimanded and their complaints not heard by Animal Care management when they refused to join coworkers at a training course at Plum Island, New York, where animals were given a variety of diseases without pain management before their death. Animal Care enforces pain management at research facilities, however USDA fails to follow such standards during its own training programs.

The whistle blower complaint states an inspector alleges that Animal Care management gave direct orders to an inspector to expunge files which were FOIA from a federal agency due to an investigation of a human death at a research facility. Other requested records from USDA, FOIA, have taken over 2 years and requesters still have not received the FOIA nor the reason for the delay.

Inspector Botelho has been inspecting facilities for nearly 5 years in SW Florida. He has conducted an astounding number of inspection, nearly 1000 inspections which have uncovered over 200 persons operating without a USDA license, some for many years. He has been given all successful evaluations each year, has no prior discipline, and has an exceptional sick leave record.

Unfortunately, since Animal Care inspector Botelho has complained about the gross mismanagement in the last several years and filed numerous complaints against his supervisor and Director of the eastern regional office, he has been retaliated against recently to include one 14 day suspension unpaid for alleged improper conduct.

Five days after serving his first suspension, he was issued a proposed 14 day suspension unpaid for alleged improper conduct. The improper conduct Director for investigations division for RMSES, stated inspector Botelho used profanity during a telephone conversation. The telephone conversation was a complaint by inspector Botelho due to RMSES investigators calling his home during late hours, harassing his family and waking his children.. Inspector Botelho’s first suspension states that he had 5 complaints against him for alleged inappropriate conduct from USDA licensees who have repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act and was issued either warning or stipulations. It appears that 5 complaints, which were here say, out of 1000 inspections is a very high percentage by Animal Care standards.

The eastern regional office Director has not disciplined inspectors with greater number of complaints initiated against them, to include Ethics violations (conflict of interest accepting gifts from licensees) AC management does not support their inspectors, but supports high profile licensees when complaints are initiated against them, especially if such facilities threaten lawsuits against the agency. There is a complaint procedure for licensees, however none for inspectors who often learn of complaints during an internal investigations or suspensions.

Management has unlimited funds for legal fees. Yes, their USDA attorney is provided free of charge for their gross mismanagement at the cost of the tax payers. There is seldom any accountability when government superiors are found guilty of discrimination or retaliation, except for future promotions. There is a free in-house grievance procedure for Animal Care employees, but it is evident that the decision would not be UN-bias, due to being made by the USDA administrator. Inspector Botleho has hired an out of state employment attorney in the last several months, which he has since paid over thousands of dollars in legal funds. It has been over two years since inspector Botelho filed initial complaints against USDA, APHIS, Animal Care. The US government being back logged with complaints and lack of staff has yet to set a hearing with a federal judge at the EEOC.

Congress needs to help federal employees do their job with dignity and respect, allowing them to file complaints in a timely and cost effective manner. Help is greatly needed for employees who file complaints against their superiors, due to the cost and time it takes for employees to receive their justice. Federal managers are allowed to issue discipline without pay and state that employees are guilty before employees can prove their innocence, costing thousands of dollars to them and their families. Most employees in inspector Botelho’s situation give into management and drop their complaint because of retaliation and the lack of funds for legal representation. Since inspectors fear complaints against them and do not get support from the management, most end up picking their battles at certain facilities, turning their heads from citing enforcement resulting in poor work ethics. Other federal employees are given ultimatums to resign or be fired. Federal managers need to be accountable for their gross mismanagement. History shows that employees who file whistle blowers eventually will be wrongfully terminated, hopefully history don’t repeat itself for inspector Botelho and congress will make some serious much needed changes in current federal regulations and laws.

Before Inspector Botelho filed this whistle blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, he has recently forwarded such similar complaints to his chain of command to include: Deputy Administrator, Dr. Chester Gipson, APHIS Administrator, Dr. Ron Dehaven, Ann Venneman, USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Agriculture Committee, Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush and President George Bush.

Hopefully his concerns and complaints will be heard by all animal lovers worldwide for the health and welfare of the animals regulated by USDA, APHIS, Animal Care. Animal Care inspectors need to be supported to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Repeat violators of the AWA need to be issued the appropriate legal action by Animal Care management.

Inspector Botelho can be reached by e-mail at: critermanfl40@wmconnect.com .

 

Kay Rosaire takes her circus act to Bermuda and the cats on barges

Animals from non-profit sanctuary (read pseudo sanctuary)

By  Ruth O Kelly-Lynch

Tigers and bears from a non-profit sanctuary will arrive on the Island for the Animal Extravaganza shows which begin on May 26.

The animals are coming  from Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Florida. DNA Entertainment  spokesman Ray Hollis said the company would be bringing six tigers and five  bears. The sanctuary, run by Kay Rosaire, has been rescuing exotic animals from  unhealthy environments since 1987.

Approximately 57 large cats call the  sanctuary home at the moment. They live on three large indoor/outdoor complexes  with swimming pools, toys and trees. The brochure says the activities provide  emotional enrichment that maintains optimal mental and physical health.

Ms  Rosaire and her son hold educational shows and demonstrations in order to raise  funds for the habitat. Their brochure touts them as gentle caregivers:
Their  unique style of gentle handling, praise and treats encourage the natural  behaviours of big cats on cue and in a sequence of their choice. Clayton is one  of the few men in the world who can put his head in a lions  mouth. Semi-retired from the entertainment industry, Kay dedicates herself  full time to the rescue of big cats and other animals in need of a safe,  permanent home, and continues to the educate visitors at the Big Cat Habitat and  Gulf Coast Sanctuary as to the plight of these magnificent animals in the wild, addressing subjects such as conservation and habitat preservation. Kay has  spoken at two big cat symposiums for the United States Department of Agriculture and is a recognised expert in animal husbandry pertaining to lions and tigers.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently investigating the group to ensure that it treats the animals well. Teresa Ince,  Shelter Manager, said the Society still has concerns about the event.

We are  still not endorsing the event because we are concerned about the transport of  the animals, the veterinary care and the housing of the animals while they are  in Bermuda and their safety, she said.

Mr. Hollis said he was aware that  the SPCA would probably not be endorsing his event, though he said he has not  made any contact with them recently. Even if you have the best trainers and  safety in place it will not change their stance, he said. They do not want  them in cages so what can you do? That is their opinion.

He said that the  SPCAs concerns have not hurt ticket sales to the event, they have already sold  out of all $25 tickets to the four shows. There are still $35 and $40 tickets to  the shows which will be held May 26-28.

The public seems to realise that  with any animal you have to transport them in a cage, he said.

The animals  will arrive on the Island on May 21 via a freight ship. He is currently in  discussions over where to keep them while they are on the Island. A spokesman  from the Environment Ministry said it had not granted DNA Entertainment  permission to import the animals and the Ministry is still actively reviewing  the case.

Mr. Hollis said it is not customary to apply for permission until  ten days before the event and added that he is in constant touch with the  Ministry. He also said his company has not been affected by North Rock  Communications pulling its sponsorship from the event.

I respect their  decision, he said.

He added that he is looking to include local animal acts  into the Animal Extravaganza as well as the big cats from the sanctuary.

http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060504/NEWS/105040119

MONTGOMERY COUNTY NOT FAIR TO LIONS AND TIGERS

Fund for Animals Condemns Agricultural Fair for Hosting Big Cat Encounter

SILVER SPRING, MD (August 14, 2003)

 

The Fund for Animals is condemning the organizers of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair for allowing the exhibit of lions and tigers by Rosaires Big Cat Encounter. Five lions and three tigers confined to small cages are on display at the fair this week.

 

The fair is taking a huge risk by promoting captive wild animal shows such as this, said Andi Bernat, Program Coordinator for The Fund for Animals. People unfortunately trust that these exotic animals can be domesticated when in fact, the animals often retain their wild instincts. According to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, captive wild cats exhibited to the public have been responsible for 8 deaths and over 60 injuries. Bernat also pointed out that people who are in the business of displaying captive wild animals often end up selling or trading their animals to circuses, roadside petting zoos, and trophy hunting ranches.

 

In fact, Kay Rosaire , one of the Big Cat Encounter owners, was an exhibitor for UniverSoul Circus, which has been cited for a number of infractions including Animal Welfare Act violations, said Bernat. In 1999, the Big Cat Encounter was cited by the USDA for failure to provide proper veterinary care and for cages that did not meet minimal size requirements.

 

Captive wild animals deserve to be treated as animals, not as stage props, said Bernat. Having lions and tigers at a county fair is not only inhumane to the animals, but also poses a danger to citizens and could make the county and the fair organizers liable for injuries ordeaths.

 

In March of 2012 the Rosaire Circus dragged their cats up to the IX Indoor Amusement Park in Cleveland, OH for the third year in a row.

 

FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE ALLOWING WILD ANIMAL DISPLAYS

 

 

In an attempt to clean up the sleazy image long associated with roadside zoos, operators of these facilities now declare themselves “conservationists.” They in fact do nothing to protect wildlife or preserve habitat, and they breed animals indiscriminately, without regard for genetic diversity and with nowhere suitable for them to go. What people learn from these exhibitors is how animals act in captivity and that it is acceptable to cause wild animals to be bored, cramped, lonely, and kept far from their natural homes.

 

Profit-hungry operators perpetually breed animals so that they will have an endless supply of “cute babies” in order to draw crowds. The older, unmanageable animals are left to languish in small cages or disposed of when they have exhausted their “usefulness.” Exotic animal auctions, frequented by unscrupulous dealers, are a popular method of discarding unwanted “display” animals, who ultimately end up in the pet trade, on breeding farms, killed for their skins and other organs, or used for canned hunts. Some animals, such as tigers, lions, and bears—both cubs and adults—are worth more dead than alive. Hides alone can fetch $2,000 to $20,000 or more. Entire families are slaughtered and stuffed for mounts that sell for $10,000. To avoid damaging pelts, animals are killed by the most gruesome methods imaginable, such as shoving ice picks through their ears and into their brains, suffocating them by wrapping plastic bags around their heads, and drowning.

 

 

 

Wildlife exhibitors mislead the public with impressive-sounding but meaningless credentials, such as “federally licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of the Interior.” Federal permits to exhibit, breed, or sell regulated animals are required and issued to nearly anyone who fills out an application and sends in a fee. The USDA exhibitor application is a 3/4-page-long form that asks for a person’s name, address, and animal inventory but nothing that pertains to qualifications. The Animal Welfare Act, which the USDA enforces, sets only minimum standards of care and rarely addresses an animal’s psychological needs. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the branch of the Department of the Interior that issues permits to buy and sell threatened and endangered species, considers non-native wildlife a low priority. Breeding mills have so saturated the market with “generic tigers” of unknown lineage that USFWS exempts these animals from full regulation. Some exhibitors even retain their licenses despite incidents of deadly animal attacks, dangerous animal escapes, serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Circuses: Clean Family Fun Or Havens Of Cruelty?

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Send a letter to your legislator with our quick & easy form at www.CatLaws.com

The Best Response to Circuses Ever Written

By Kerry Ashmore , The Northeaster

Numerous thorny issues cloud the debate over how humans treat animals. One issue coming quickly to Minneapolis, however, has a clear and easy correct answer. We urge Minneapolis City Council members to ban wild animal circus performances in the city.

This will not require all of us to become vegetarians. It won’t ban laboratory research. It won’t be a death sentence for any animal that bites a human. Minneapolis taxpayers would simply be refusing to allow people to make money in the city through capturing and training wild animals, and would be foregoing any money the city and local businesses might make if the circus came to town.

This issue is similar to some other thorny issues, however, in that many people will oppose the ban because they don’t want to believe that circuses are necessarily cruel to animals. To support the ban, they would have to admit that the whole concept of capturing and
training wild animals for human entertainment and enrichment is, and always has been, wrong; and that they have been wrong for not doing everything they could to ban the practice decades ago. Who wants to admit to something like that?

Our advice to them: Deal with it.

Yes, we humans have been wrong all along, and this is a baby step toward making things right.

Those who don’t want the ban will be quick to point to violent and illegal acts people have committed in the name of ending animal cruelty, and suggest that seeking to end animal cruelty somehow indicates that one condones such acts. That simply doesn’t pass the common sense test, and those who bring such incidents into the discussion are essentially admitting that they can’t come up with a reasonable defense for the way animals are treated in a circus setting. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because there is no reasonable defense for it.

Some local people will lose some money if the ban is passed. Circus people stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and spend money in local stores. Our wise and resourceful officials can replace the circus with other events that don’t cause us to support unconscionable acts toward beings who, because of human intervention, are no longer able to defend themselves.

Humans, with complete freedom of movement and superior reasoning capability, grow weary of “life on the road,” and with good reason. Circus animals are caged and moved from town to town, forced to perform unnatural acts and then caged and moved to yet another town for yet another performance. The best efforts of the most kind- hearted people in the world cannot make this process humane. It is
cruel by its nature.

It’s unlikely that the circus people think that what they’re doing is inhumane. It’s only when city after city after city closes its doors that they will ask, “Why?” and perhaps begin to have second thoughts about the way animals have to be treated if they are to provide money- making entertainment to humans.

When and if our society becomes truly civilized, such entertainment will be banned entirely. Those animal-protection laws don’t exist now, and there isn’t a legal way to stop circus use of animals.

Minneapolis, however, has a chance to take one simple, straightforward action, and become the 29th American city to close its doors to wild animal circuses. It’s an action Minneapolis council members should take without delay, without regret and without dissent.

Posted: Wed, 08/01/2007

http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/node/5895

For the love of animals, avoid the circus

By DUNCAN STRAUSS
Special to The Post

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On Wednesday, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus lumbers into the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center in Palm Beach County for 12 performances. To those considering stepping into the big top to attend one of these shows, I offer this polite request:

Please don’t.

Who am I – some animal-hating killjoy out to spoil your fun? Far from it. I’m a father, a pretty passionate animal lover and, not coincidentally, I host a radio program about animals that airs on Tampa National Public Radio affiliate WMNF.

I do not claim to be a renowned animal expert. But over the years, I’ve done a great deal of research into an array of animal matters. In hosting the show, I’ve had the good fortune to interview a number of renowned animal experts, experiences that have yielded one indisputable conclusion:

Animals in circuses endure a relentlessly awful life, marked by constant travel in cramped quarters, where access to food and water and proper veterinary care can’t always be counted on, but punishment, pain, cruelty and, sometimes, premature death can be.

Hyperbole? Hardly. Any unit of Ringling Bros. is on the road for six to 11 months at a time, typically traveling in small train cars or trucks that are often poorly ventilated and/or lack basic creature comforts.

But the travails of transportation practically seem glorious alongside the covert and overt cruelty of the training that prepares – if that’s the right word – these animals to perform in “the greatest show on Earth.” Allow me to pose two related rhetorical questions:

Do you think that tigers – who, like most animals, are deathly afraid of fire – would be naturally inclined to jump through a ring of fire?

Do you think that elephants would be naturally inclined to balance on a colorful perch, stand on their hind legs or heads, or dance?

The answer, of course, is a resounding “No.” So, to achieve the sort of unnatural and physically challenging behaviors described above and others, the training is fear-driven, revolving around punishing and hurting the animals: whipping them, beating them with rods, etc.

Elephants often are restrained, then beaten until they understand not to fight back. The chief tool of the elephant training trade is the bull hook, or ankus, which is heavy and clublike and has a pointy, sharp tip. Imagine a heavy and sharp fireplace poker. The trainers hit the elephants with the bull hook in various parts of their body, so that they comply – “learn.”

Sounds too horrendous to believe, doesn’t it? But there is plenty of testimony by former Ringling employees that says as much, and lots of video that shows as much – some of it as new as this year. To see an extensive array of germane video footage in less than eight minutes, you could hardly do better than watching the award-winning piece on Ringling and its abuse of Asian elephants by television journalist Leslie Griffith, who has won nine local Emmys and two Edward R. Murrow Awards, It’s at www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3rQzLOLR4M.

Keen observers of Ms. Griffith’s work will notice that it’s from 2004, and might reasonably wonder whether Ringling has improved its treatment of animals. Nope. In October 2006, Robert Tom, a former animal keeper who worked for Ringling for nearly two years (his wife, Margaret, also was employed by the circus) issued a notarized declaration – six pages of hair-raising accounts of animal neglect, abuse and cruelty in and around the big top.

Mr. Tom’s experiences echo those of Archele Faye Hundley, a young mother of five, who worked as part of the animal crew. Her lengthy September 2006 notarized declaration, notes: “I quit the circus because the animal abuse was too upsetting. The abuse was not once in awhile, it occurred every day.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, along with three other not-for-profit animal welfare organizations – The Fund For Animals, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Protection Institute – are in the midst of litigation, under the Federal Endangered Species Act, against Ringling. The allegations detail the routine abuse and neglect of Asian elephants. The groups are joined in the lawsuit by a former Ringling employee, Tom Rider, who worked as a barn man for the elephants for 21/2 years, and is featured in the Griffith piece.

I digress here briefly for a prediction: Ringling owner Kenneth Feld surely will dispatch someone to respond to this piece – could be an official employee or maybe someone in the guise of a Ringling fan writing a letter to the editor – to dismiss these contentions as the ravings of a misinformed loon.

There will be rosy scenarios offered about their training, about their “conservation efforts” (their Center for Elephant Conservation is little more than a facility to restock the touring units with fresh pachyderms), about how great their animals are treated, etc. There are millions of dollars at stake, and elephants are the prime drawing cards, so when someone is critical of the operation, Mr. Feld and his fellow Ringling panjandrums typically mobilize quickly. And they’ll say anything

Nonetheless, let’s just say, for the sake of ludicrous argument, that nothing untoward is visited on elephants in the course of their big top training. They’re still forced to travel in those train cars or trucks to perform up to three shows a day and to spend most of their non-performance time anchored by leg chains.

Let me hasten to add that I’m not at all universally opposed to circuses, just those that use animals. There are numerous animal-free circuses – perhaps the most famous is Cirque du Soleil, but the last list I saw featured more than 20 such outfits.

If your family has a hankering to see a circus, go to one of those. But attending a Ringling performance is tantamount to endorsing animal abuse.

Read it online HERE

Nov 18, 2011 News Reports Woman Posing and Petting Over Age Cub at Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota owned by Kay Rosaire:

 

Watching Ghandis progress
By: CliffRoles  http://spotted.heraldtribune.com/photos/index.php?id=2465158
September 13, 2011: Wonderful but sad … my last hugs and kisses with Ghandi today. She’s now 4 months old and weighs about 30 pounds; her teeth and claws are razor sharp, and now that she’s at the Habitat, her natural instincts will take over and she’ll learn to get along with the “big cats” and become one herself. In a year’s time she’ll weigh about 400 pounds. My consolation – she’ll have a wonderful life thanks to YOU and your donations to the Habitat. Ghandi and the rest of the cats, bears, lions, ligers, wallabies, monkeys and emus need you to visit them and help Kay Rosaire and her staff take care of them. So thanks for the kisses today, Ghandi … and here’s to the next cub I get to cuddle!
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