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Posted on Aug 17, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 1 comment

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Pimps Out Big Cat Cubs

It’s 2016 and Zootastic is still pimping out cubs.

A concerned citizen went to visit Zootastic in North Carolina and took photos and video of the cub petting taking place there. In September 2016 they took photos and videos of a white tiger cub with horrible ringworm being used for cub petting and a liliger suffering from what appeared to be severe mange. Just two months after filing her compliant with USDA, Zootastic was fined over $7,000 and slapped with 9 animal welfare violations! According to records obtained by PETA, Zootastic Park—a disreputable roadside zoo that PETA has lodged complaints against for years—was penalized $7,450 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in November 2016 for nine violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.  More at

Your voice matters!  When you see something SAY something.

What Visitors Say about Zootastic

My son and I visited Zootastic Park at 448 Pilch Rd, Troutman, NC, 28166 this past Saturday, September 17th, and we saw some things with their big cats that concern us terribly.  We did the Tiger Cub Encounter and the white tiger cub named Thor appears to have something wrong on his skin.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but had some suspicions.    Thor was also very hoarse when he talked.  I thought he sounded very strained and he cried out often and appeared very distressed and stressed out.

Also of concern, out in the park where they have their new enclosure for the tigers, they have a sickly looking Li-Liger Cub (I asked the keeper/handler on my encounter about this animal) and he said the animal belonged to someone else, but they are doing the best they could for him. He has close to no hair and his skin looks awful.  He is also being tormented by an adult white tiger female in that same enclosure.  I saw her grab him by the neck and get on top of him to show him she was boss.  She did it many times and swatted at him.  Before I left, he decided to fight back and show her he was tired of it.  Very, very disturbing to witness.  They have NO WHERE to go to get away from the torment!  And this poor little guy also has an open wound on top of one his paws.

I sent this info and photos to Carole Baskin at Big Cat Rescue to take a look at because I know she’s an expert on the big cats.  She believes it may either be Ringworm or Mange on Thor the cub.   This is a huge problem because they allowed us to touch the cub!  I have cats at home and this would be devastating to bring home.  For the Li-Liger cub, she said it looks like Mange.   I am requesting that you have an Inspector sent out to Zootastic Park right away to investigate these issues.  Please.  If the cub has Ringworm or Mange, as you know both are highly contagious,  then this is a huge public health risk!   The public can touch the animal.  I told Carole  I was told that Thor is 12 weeks old and they got him at 3 weeks of age she said that means the cub was sold AFTER it became illegal to take the cubs from their moms for handling before they are 4 weeks of age (see the USDA below).  If the cub was transferred across state lines at 3 weeks and money changed hands, then it was a violation of the USFWS rule below.

4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more:

4/3/2016 USDA cracks down on abuse of cubs under the age of four weeks.  In response to a 2012 legal petition filed by The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance making clear that exhibitors violate the Animal Welfare Act by allowing members of the public to handle or feed infant exotic cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards.  Read more:

Please take a look at these photos and video I took of Thor the White Tiger cub and photos of the Li-Liger cub.  Thank you so much for your time and concern!

liliger at Zootastic 2016

This mangey looking cub was being tormented by bigger tigers in the cage

liliger tormented by tiger at Zootastic 2016

This might be the worst case of mange or ringworm we’ve ever seen

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

The spots on his legs, chest, belly, face, toes and read end look like ringworm

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

Despite an obvious skin condition this cub is being pimped out as a pay to play object

Name Withheld

USDA Citations 2014 – 2016

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Jul 05, 2016
Direct:		 1
Non-Critical:	 7
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194

Zootastic 2016-07-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 16, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194

Zootastic 2015-05-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
May 19, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 172

Zootastic 2015-03-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Mar 13, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2

Zootastic 2015-02-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Feb 11, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 213

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Dec 30, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2

Zootastic 2014-11-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 05, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 21

Back in 2014

It has been reported that Zootastic, in Troutman, NC is charging people to play and pose with big cat cubs.  As usual, these kinds of operators insist that they are “legit” and that they are breeding for conservation and that paying them to play with cubs will result in conservation and a lovely life for the cubs when they grow up and are sent to undisclosed, other facilities.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

These USDA inspection reports show continuing violations of animal welfare standards and when the cubs are sent to other places you can be sure they will be equally as bad or worse.  No legitimate facility would allow Zootastic to continue to exploit cubs and then dump last year’s babies on them.  That just perpetuates abuse.

Zootastic-10-2014-11-29 at 8.27.31 AM

Zootastic-11-2014-11-29 at 8.27.19 AM

Zootastic-14-2014-11-29 at 8.26.45 AM


Zootastic-2014-11-29 at 8.26.08 AM










As soon as they opened, in 2012, they were exploiting cubs


Last holiday hoorah at Zootastic Park

Although the holiday is over, and 2012 is undeniably under way, Zootastic Park, one of the region’s more unique attractions, wants to stretch that holiday feeling for a little bit longer.

The park’s operators say, given the difficult economy, they want to give back to the community for its support of the zoo throughout the year. As a final present under the tree, Zootastic is holding over its “Wonderland of Lights” spectacular for one last time.

One of the largest holiday lights displays in the area, Zootastic will flip the switch back on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission to the display is free.

With more than 1.5 million lights along the two-mile drive, the display concludes with a computerized light show in Zootastic’s “Western Town.” After viewing the lights, visitors are invited to enter the zoo to visit the animals. There will also be opportunities to have pictures taken with Zootastic’s baby tiger cub, ride a pony and more.

The Christmas Wonderland of Lights is located off I-77 at Exit 42 between Mooresville and Troutman. From I-77 North, turn left off the exit ramp and then right on Ostwalt-Amity Road. Zootastic Park is one mile further on the left.

The park will open for its pre-season on March 3. For more information, call 704-245-6446 or 888-966-0069 or visit

Read More

Posted on Mar 2, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name, News Feed | 0 comments

DEW Haven Bob Julie Miner

DEW Haven Bob Julie Miner

DEW Haven/Yankee Jungle

Despite their name, DEW Haven is not a legitimate sanctuary. Although the heavily-edited Animal Planet reality show “Yankee Jungle” portrayed the Mount Vernon, Maine facility as a loving refuge for animals, DEW is a self-proclaimed exotic animal breeding farm and private zoo with a decades-long history of animal welfare violations, illegal wildlife trafficking, public safety issues, and deceptive behavior.

Over the past 15 years, DEW Haven has been cited for over 54 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.  State investigators have described conditions there as “deplorable” and “untenable” and have seized several animals from the facility while recommending the revocation of its permits.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

In 1998, Maine officials temporarily revoked DEW Haven’s exhibitor permit due to “failure to comply with state standards and regulations regarding the lawful and humane treatment of wildlife in captivity.” That year, federal authorities at the USDA fined them $4,500 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle 59

An excerpt from a 1998 state investigator’s report. The investigation resulted in the temporary revocation of DEW’s exhibitor’s permit, and later that year, DEW was fined by the USDA for failing to comply with the Animal Welfare Act.

Although DEW Haven claims to be a sanctuary for rescued animals, most of their animals were born on-site or purchased from other private zoos. Unlike a true sanctuary, they routinely breed, buy, sell, and allow public contact with their animals, including newborn big cat cubs which are taken from their mothers immediately after birth for lucrative “encounters” with the public (an extremely inhumane practice which no legitimate facility would ever do).

At a 2016 public hearing on proposed revisions to Maine’s captive wildlife rules, DEW co-owner Julie Miner told those present that DEW is “a USDA licensed zoo” which has “bred and donated endangered species to other facilities for display.” At the hearing, Miner called proposed rules which would prevent private owners from breeding tigers “a big concern” because “they are one of the types of animals that attract visitors to facilities such as ours” and that banning private breeding “would affect our revenue and the ability to replace our own exhibit animals… …We also feel that listening to radical animal activists – who are pushing for no breeding, no zoos that aren’t accredited, etc. is a dangerous downward spiral – the fact is their only agenda is to have no animals in captivity.”

Former volunteers report that animals no longer wanted at DEW Haven are often “shot, sick, sold, traded, skinned and mounted, and some just disappear.” And although DEW claims to be run on a shoestring budget and begs for more donations to help their animals, the organization’s tax returns show significant annual profit going into the pockets of the owners, with very little of the public’s “donations” spent on animal care.

After reviewing 500 pages of government records, the investigative news outlet Mother Jones published a scathing indictment of DEW Haven, using it as an example of the “difficulties that state and federal wildlife officials have with effectively regulating the nation’s private zoos.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle 59

“Unstable” Ownership

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle 59

DEW is owned and operated by Bob Miner, a convicted felon with a 14 page long criminal record. Miner has been found guilty of seven felonies and four misdemeanors since 1981, including multiple counts of felony burglary, receiving stolen property, theft by unauthorized taking, illegal ownership of firearms, and misdemeanor assault.

Bob and his wife Julie are not accredited by any legitimate organization, have no formal education in caring for exotic animals, and have admitted to the press that they consider their facility a “farm” and their exotic animals as nothing more than “alternative livestock.” As recently as April 2016, the Miners proudly told the Portland Press Herald that they consider themselves “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-type people” and refused to allow a reporter access to their property.

Bob Miner has a history of threatening and intimidating anyone who criticizes DEW. In 2002, he was arrested for harassment of a neighbor who criticized his operation, and in 2004, courts issued a temporary restraining order against him after he threatened former DEW volunteer Monica Hooper at a supermarket.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Hooper has stated that “these are not nice people running this facility. When you turn off the cameras and the public is off of the property, they drop the act.” She claims that she has been contacted by many other volunteers, neighbors, and DEW visitors who were disturbed by what they saw at the facility, but were afraid to speak up out of fear of retaliation. These whistleblowers write:

“I used to live next door to where he threw all the unused carcasses…acres of filthy rotting carcasses…not buried or burned …the smell was so bad we couldn’t even go outside…he is one crazy scary individual!…”

“We called every agency we knew of but no one would do anything about it. They said it was illegal but I heard no one dares to cross him because he is so unstable…ended up digging a big hole and putting the carcasses in it..then it rained and all the swollen carcasses were floating in it. Then it would overflow and the runoff flowed down the ditches on the side of the road into Echo Lake…the locals couldnt let that happen so they buried as many carcasses as they could with an excavator..then Bob sold the property to a relative no less…and they drilled a well right next to the mass grave…he never told them the difference! What a vile human being!…”

“You can certainly share whatever information I may have but I prefer to keep my name out of it as he is crazy and I have children and grandchildren in the area and I don’t trust him not to retaliate….”

“What I remember? Pigs and cows dying all up and down Ithiel Gordon Rd (adjacent to his property) with massive lacerations–blood everywhere. There is a little swampy area on I.G. road, just South of Walter Greene Rd where the bodies of numerous farm animals were found. A friend of mine also said he witnessed Miner’s step-son kill a dog with his bare hands when they were teenagers. There are some seriously messed up things happening there in my opinion. I’m normally the last person to play nanny–but really folks, if you are reading this, stay away from this place and this man.”


Animal Welfare Violations

DEW Haven has been fined multiple times by the USDA for chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act.


In March 1998, DEW was fined $4,300 after inspectors witnessed injured animals, contaminated feed, and dangerous fencing. The USDA gave the Miners two options: they could pay the fine outright, or they could take that same money and use it to remedy the problems, with the condition that they show how  the money was spent to improve the facility. DEW declined to improve their facility and chose to pay the fine directly.

In 2002, the USDA fined DEW $2,000 and cited the Miners for improper animal housing and unsanitary conditions, including a “drum of a liquid and bone mix” which left the USDA inspector “visibly upset.”


Recent USDA inspection records show that these violations continue.  From 2004 to 2015 alone, DEW violated the Animal Welfare Act 54 times. Among the recent violations:


  • In 2012, three bears were euthanized “on an emergency basis” after fighting with each other and sustaining severe injuries.  The inspector wrote:

“According to the licensees, the older male [bear] had been showing behavioral changes (including aggression) for the past year, however the licensees did not communicate this observation to the attending veterinarian.  Had they communicated the observation in a timely fashion, this traumatic incident may have been avoided.”

  • Piles of garbage and feed waste with “waste odor” were found behind animal enclosures, and a fly infestation was reported near a cougar cub’s pen.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • Tigers, sheep, deer, and goats had little or no shelter from the elements, and another tiger was housed in a poorly-drained, damp pen, “a condition that could cause harm to the animal.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • Perimeter fences to keep the public away from adult lions and bears were inadequate or non-existent.
  • Some animal feed was expired or contaminated with feces.
  • Visitors were allowed to interact with an 8 month old, 130 lb. tiger which was far too large and dangerous to legally come in contact with the public.
  • Shelters for tiger and lion cubs were inadequate and too small for the animals to have freedom of movement.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • A shelf in the black leopard enclosure was poorly-maintained and “could cause injury” to the animal, and a crowbar was left on the ground in the bobcat enclosure.
  • There were “considerable unhygienic conditions” in the food preparation area.
  • A gap in the lion enclosure was ordered to be closed to “minimize the risk of escape.”
  • The public was allowed to interact with an adult tiger at distances “insufficient to assure safety,” and dangerous gaps were noted in the zebra enclosure.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • Unused fencing, construction materials, and other trash was repeatedly found on the ground inside animal enclosures.
  • Three adult tigers were being kept in enclosures insufficient to ensure their containment.
  • A goat was observed with an “excessively long hoof” which could cause lameness.
  • A livestock trailer used to transport animals had rusted out in some areas.

State Inspections

In 1998, DEW Haven was investigated under warrant by state inspectors after the Miners illegally imported several animals without the appropriate permits, then “knowingly and willingly” lied to officials about the animals’ origins. In a single 3-hour visit, the inspectors found a whopping 48 violations of state animal welfare laws, including:


  • A black bear was being displayed in a cage with dirty water. Inspectors noted that “this bear was obtained from an animal dealer in New Hampshire and was imported into Maine without an importation permit having been issued. This bear also has been recently injured and has not been seen by a veterinarian or other trained personnel. It appeared that the bear may have broken its left front leg. The bear has no use of this limb and drags it on the ground.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle


  • A Bengal tiger was housed in a barren enclosure with no climbing or claw logs required by the state of Maine, and provided with “a bathtub containing 2 inches of dirty water for drinking purposes.” The roof of the enclosure “was not attached to the frame of the pen in such a manner so as to prevent escape.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • A female lion cub was housed in an enclosure with no water. This enclosure lacked the legally-required roof to prevent escapes, and a fallen tree over the side of the enclosure provided “a mechanism for the lion cub to get out of the pen.”


  • Two black leopards were kept in 12 by 12 foot cages that “had not been cleaned in some time.” Inspectors found an “excessive amount of feces” and maggot-infested meat in the cage. There was no water, and “both cages had barbed wire twists holding roof panels together and in such a manner so that the exposed ends of the barbed wire could cause injury to the cats.” An inadequate safety barrier was “close enough to the enclosure that a person could be in contact with one of the cats.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • Two adult lions were housed in an enclosure with no roof to prevent escapes and no provision for shade.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • A male mountain lion was housed in an enclosure with dirty water and feces that were “more than a day old”, while the enclosure for the female mountain lion had no shade and water that was “inadequate and in a dirty receptacle.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • Primates were housed without water in cages that “do not meet minimum specifications.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

  • An illegally-imported black bear cub was found in a cage, and a crested macaque had also been imported without the required permits.
  • Many of the enclosures did not have adequate shelter for the animals to seek relief from the elements, and most animals had dirty water or no water at all.
  • Drinking water and food dishes were dirty, and rats were seen at the facility.
  • There was no written plan of action in the event of a disaster.
  • Two bobcats were housed in enclosures with dirty water and no perch as required by state law.


As a result of this investigation, the state of Maine suspended DEW’s exhibitor permit for 90 days. The Miners cleaned up their facility and were allowed to resume operations, but quickly reverted to their old ways as soon as the permit was reinstated.

In May 2002, federal and state officials confiscated three illegally-imported cougars and a ringtailed lemur from DEW Haven. One of the cougars, Zach, had been left with bloody, abscessed paws after authorities suspect Bob Miner attempted to declaw the cat himself.  The state’s report on a veterinarian’s assessment referred to the declaw as a “butcher job” which left Zach “crippled” and unable to walk.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

A volunteer’s photo of a cougar’s abscessed paws before he was seized by the state.


One month after the 2002 confiscation, DEW was subject to an announced inspection by USDA veterinarian Clem Dussault, Maine Warden Investigator Phil Dugas, and state wildlife biologist Keel Kemper. Kemper later relayed his observations in an internal memo:



  • Many of the animals being held do not have access to water. This is required by law, and no excuse no matter how dramatic can ameliorate this transgression. In each instance that water was not provided, a ready excuse was forthcoming, as to why this particular animal’s behavior (i.e. he knocks over his dish) prevented it from having access to water. I indicated to the Miners that this was unacceptable from the state’s point of view and steps must be taken to ensure that all animals have water available to them whenever they want it.


DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle


  • Dead, decaying carcasses continue to be a problem. The current condition at DEW is unacceptable to any reasonable person. One cage contained two carcasses of what appeared to be geese. According to Julie Miner, these geese were killed by a Great Horned Owl this past winter. It appears that no one thought to remove these carcasses to an appropriate disposal facility. They were allowed to decay within the pen, in plain sight of the public. I observed bones, heads, hides, cast randomly about the property. A dead, bloated calf with approximately 1 billion flies was observed, just south of the Camel pen.


DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle


  • In looking at the paper work associated with many of these animals, it appears that there is a tremendous amount of “donating” being made between animal propagators. These animals are changing hands yet, they are almost always “donated” from one propagator to the other. A normal circumstance would necessitate some payments and exchange of money. This is the only industry I know where everybody seems to donate to each other, “on paper.” I believe all of these “donations” are to cover the illegal trade of wildlife. This is sheer opinion on my part.


DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle


  • Mr. Clem Dussault informed me that in 1998, DEW Animal Kingdom had to resolve a complaint of similar violations with [the USDA]. DEW was offered two options. They could pay an outright fine of approximately $4300.00 or in lieu of the fine, they could take that same money and put it into the facility to remedy the problems identified by the complaint. If the second option was chosen they would have to show how the money was spent to improve the facility. DEW chose to pay the fine outright as opposed to putting the money into their facility to solve the problems identified in the complaint.


I cannot recommend that DEW permits be reinstated at this time. I cannot recommend that DEW be allowed to have back those animals that were seized from them in May. (Federal Vet. Dussault concurs with this recommendation). It appears that DEW is not capable of compliance with the State of Maine Laws with regards to animals in captivity.”

The inspection summary filed by Mr. Dugas confirmed many of these observations:

“I am very surprised that DEW Animal Kingdom was not more prepared for this inspection,” he writes.  “Watering of animals kept in captivity has been an issue at this facility in the past and continues to be an issue. It is unacceptable that several exhibits didn’t have water in the cages and no attempt was made at the time to correct the deficiency.  The dead and decaying animals lying around the facility is unsanitary, unsightly, and unhealthy. This has also been a chronic condition at this facility. It is apparent to me that neither the watering nor the dead decaying condition is going to change. Based on the results of an announced inspection with notice I cannot recommend that the Department grant DEW Animal Kingdom a license to display wildlife.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Shortly after this inspection, the Mount Vernon Code Office notified the Miners that their property was in violation of the town’s Junkyard Ordinance, while the local Health Officer, responding to a complaint, ordered that the dead carcasses be removed from the property as an “offense to public health” and noted that “this is not the first complaint about dead animals on this lot.”

DEW Haven:Yankee JungleDEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

After this inspection, the Kennebec State-Journal reported that Maine’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife “was not going to renew [DEW’s] license” for 2002 because the facility “failed to comply with state standards and regulations regarding the lawful and humane treatment of wildlife in captivity.” However, after the Miners negotiated with state officials and made some improvements to their facility, the department suddenly changed its mind and decided to renew DEW’s permit against the recommendations of state and federal inspectors.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Cub Abuse

“Lion cubs are a dime a dozen.” – Julie Miner

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Julie Miner with a newborn lion cub. A former DEW volunteer alleges that Julie Miner has been seen taunting the cubs’ distraught mothers after taking them, saying “I got your baby!”

Unlike a true sanctuary, DEW Haven buys, breeds, and sells big cats, and takes cubs from their mothers at just hours old in order to handraise them and sell $50 “encounters” to the public. Many of the cubs used in these programs are far too young to be legally handled under USDA regulations. In 2014, state and federal officials ordered DEW to immediately stop selling tickets for the public to hold and bottlefeed newborn tiger cubs because cubs that small are not able to regulate their body temperatures and have an underdeveloped immune system, placing them at risk of disease and infection. According to Mother Jones, DEW complied, but “complained to the department that banning the shows meant lost revenue.”  

The Miners have admitted to local newspapers that their cubs are fed goat’s milk, an entirely inappropriate diet for a growing big cat which can cause malnourishment. This report also notes that a lion cub’s mother remained visibly agitated after having her baby stolen from her.

DEW Haven:Yankee JungleDEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

This tiny lion cub at DEW is very skinny and appears to be malnourished on a diet of goat’s milk.

If the cubs survive this abuse, they are kept by the Miners to breed more cubs or sold to anyone who will pay for them. DEW refuses to reveal the buyers of their cubs and has stated that once they have sold a cub, they are “not responsible for the lifetime of the animal.”

Bob Miner has bragged to tour groups about selling his cubs to circuses, and several of their cubs have ended up at Bear Path Acres, a notoriously abusive roadside zoo which had its license suspended in 2016 for severe and repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.  

Born at DEW, this tiny black leopard cub was put on display at a local fair, after he was allegedly sold for $2,500 to Bear Path Acres.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

A former DEW volunteer writes:

“Makeena was a white [tiger] cub brought in to DEW Haven in 2011 for breeding. She was stolen from her mother and used for shameless promotion from the get-go. She was put into a crate and carted around the property for viewing opportunities. Here is a picture of Makeena after she was pulled out of a crate and put out for photo ops. Please look at her hurt paw. Despite the injury there is no mention of a vet or even a thought for her own welfare, as Julie Miner shamelessly uses her for media attention in dozens of pictures.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle


In 2014, Makeena gave birth to two litters of cubs, both of which were immediately taken from her to be handled and fed by paying customers. The Miners told the press and the public the common cub-petting lies: that the mother wasn’t caring for the cubs, that the cubs needed to “bond with people,” and that “they’ll go to nonprofit facilities focused on education and breeding programs because they are [an] endangered species.”  Of the three cubs in one of Makeena’s litters, one white cub was euthanized due to birth defects caused by inbreeding, another white cub was “shipped out” to an undisclosed facility at just four weeks old, and the third, an orange cub named Aurora, “had trouble finding a buyer” and remained at the facility until the fall. A volunteer was told the cub went to a facility that had advertised online looking for a tiger and was given away online in response to a Craigslist ad.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

One of Makeena’s 4 week old cubs, before being euthanized due to claims of a congenital neurological condition.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

This cub is being fed illegally by a member of the public with dirty fingernails.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Aurora, as a tiny cub before being given away on Craigslist.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

This newborn cub will never see his mother.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

A cub being used for petting screams at DEW.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Newborn cubs are displayed in playpens at DEW. This exhausted cub wants to sleep.


DEW also purchases cubs from substandard private zoos and tells the public that they were “rescued.”  This tiger cub was purchased by the Miners from Robert Engesser’s notoriously abusive Jungle Safari traveling exhibit and kept in the Miner’s living room in violation of Maine law.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Animal Escapes & Safety Issues

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

A protest sign by a former DEW volunteer details recent escapes.


Former DEW volunteers report that there have been multiple escapes of dangerous animals at the facility, including at least one during a public tour. None of these incidents were ever reported to local, state, or federal authorities as required by law.  A whistleblower warns:

“The important thing to remember is that nothing has changed to prevent future escapes. There is no heightened preventive practices happening. If you are planning to take your loved ones there, there is a risk everyday.”


  • In 2003, an adult male lion named Baghwa escaped from his enclosure at night and ate the domestic fowl roaming the property. He was witnessed by a family member who was driving into the facility at the time and saw Baghwa’s eyes in the headlights of her van. The Miners reportedly spent the whole night trying to get Baghwa back into his enclosure.
  • Sometime within the last 10 years, a black leopard named Gabrielle allegedly escaped her enclosure during a public tour and was safely re-captured.
  • In 2012, a wolf named Cherokee escaped his enclosure and was shot. Although DEW denies ever having a wolf named Cherokee, a former volunteer writes:

“One day [Cherokee] climbed up and over the fence of his enclosure and was loose on the path. Fortunately the public was not there. Cherokee encountered several geese in his path and killed one and threw it down. He moved on to the next, killed it and threw it down. He continued down the path repeating this over and over. Unable to contain him, the Miners shot and killed him. How do I know this? This is the story Julie told me herself when I went there and noticed he was missing. I haven’t heard him spoken of again. I believe in an episode of Yankee Jungle, Julie says they only had 2 wolves. No, Cherokee did exist and he was beautiful.”

  • Around 2012, Bob Miner deliberately provoked a tiger in an unsafe enclosure with a large group of children present. The incident so disturbed one visitor that she filed a formal complaint with the state. It reads:

“The crowd was gathering around [Bob Miner]. There were probably 50 people total, mostly kids (maybe ages 7-10) from some organization, as they all had the same red t-shirt on. Miner threw a piece of meat over the fence into the tiger pen, and onto a 3 or 4 foot raised platform, that the tiger jumped up on to eat this meat. Miner was in-between the short barrier fence and the tiger’s enclosures chain link one.

This fence was about 12 to 14 feet tall but, with the subtraction of the platform’s 3-4 feet the tiger only had maybe 8-11 feet separating us from it. Miner then hit the fence near the tiger’s face, and the tiger would agro and start roaring and showing its teeth. Over and over Miner aggro’d the tiger while yelling to the crowd about the tiger’s behavior. All the children and adults were enthralled. The tiger was pissed. He was constantly showing his teeth, then roaring, slashing his tail against the fence, and crouching and flexing, over this piece of meat. I did the math on the fence level, where the tiger knows the meat flies over, and the tiger was at least 10 feet long, adding up to a disaster for all the people there. I told my friend and her kids that we were leaving. They were just like the crowd, enthralled and oblivious to the potential danger. I explained briefly that this was dangerous and as I pulled one of the children through the crowd with my friend and the other child following, Miner started yelling some rhetoric about the fences being electric and that the tigers could not get out. Not for nothing but, I had just seen this same man hitting the fence with his bare hand to agro the tiger. …This is a time bomb waiting to happen.”

  • On June 25, 2016, a volunteer witnessed a cougar nearly escape in front of a tour group. The enclosure was not designed to contain an animal the size of a full-grown cougar and had a gap between the walls and the roof almost large enough to allow the cat to slip through.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW has been cited numerous times for housing dangerous animals in enclosures deemed “insufficient to contain” them. These photos were taken as recently as 2015, and show a tiger cub being held in his cage by nothing more than a scrap of wood, an old dog leash being used to keep the public out of a lion enclosure, and fencing that is falling apart. The Miners refer to these enclosures as “rustic” and “recycled.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Bob Miner has continually disregarded laws which prohibit the public from having direct contact with large carnivores. He has been cited by the USDA twice for allowing the public to enter the barrier fence to pose with and touch adult tigers, and famously encouraged the public to feed candy to his black bear from their mouths. Facebook posts and other photos show that this dangerous behavior continues despite USDA citations.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

In April 2016, the Miners would not allow a reporter onto their property under the excuse that because it was the offseason, “not all safety measures are in place.” Safety measures must legally be in place at all times, not just when the public is present.

In the late 1990s, Bob Miner often drove around with large big cat cubs in the back of his truck for the public to pet and admire, including this young tiger, photographed at a convenience store:

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

In 1997, a report sent to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife records an incident where Bob and Julie brought a leashed 8-month old leopard to the state agriculture department office for employees to pat and play with. The report states that the large cub was “too rough with his teeth and claws” and that he “lunged and grabbed” an employee walking down the hallway, who claims that the cat’s “head and paws were around my midsection.” The employee was startled but unhurt.



Multiple animals at DEW have died due to neglect, and some have been shot by the Miners in their cages. Animal deaths are rarely, if ever, reported to the public, and former volunteers report that when an animal dies, the Miners simply replace it with a new animal of the same name. The following information was provided to us by whistleblowers who witnessed these incidents while volunteering:

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

In 2000, a 4-month-old lion cub named Boonyea died of neglect. He spent most of his short life illegally chained to the floor in the Miner’s home with no water receptacle and only scraps of meat to eat. On March 31, volunteers noticed that the cub was not eating, drinking or defecating, and was lethargic and weak. Instead of seeking veterinary help for the cub, Bob and Julie Miner left him chained to the floor for three days while they displayed animals at the Augusta, Maine Sportsman Show. While they were away, Boonyea died. According to a volunteer:

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

“[Boonyea] was in obvious distress during the weekend. I thought it was possibly an internal blockage since he was not ingesting fluids or food and not defecating. I witnessed this lion cub’s physical health deteriorate over the course of Friday March 31, 2000 to the evening of April 2, 2000, when the show was over and I went home. I returned the following day, Monday April 3, 2000 and Julie Miner told me that Boonyea had died during the night. Her facial expression and the tone of her voice was stone cold. I was told by Julie Miner that the lion cub had an internal digestive obstruction that he could not pass. If he had received proper veterinary care during his time of pain and distress on that Friday before, the blockage would have been removed and the lion would have lived. Julie Miner’s response:

“Lion cubs are a dime a dozen.”

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Boonyhea on a short chain in the Miner’s home. Although the Miners were aware that the cub was in distress, they left him to die in pain, with no medical treatment.

According to a volunteer who witnessed the incident: “In April 2000, I witnessed Bob Miner yell at and chase Seren,a female cougar,  with a long pole to get her in a section of the enclosure so his devoted wife Julie Miner could shut her out. So Bob could show off for a tour crowd with Zach, a male cougar who authorities suspect Bob had attempted to de-claw himself and his efforts left Zach crippled and he limped instead of walking naturally for the rest of his life. Watching a wild cougar react as a wild cougar should against this type of handling was an image I shall never forget. I would also like to point out that not one of the spectators even so much as winced at this display. This illustrates how ignorant the general public are concerning the laws and proper care and handling of these animals.”

Because Seren did not produce offspring, and she was not crippled and could retaliate against Bob Miner’s regular abuse for spectators, she attacked Miner. Miner escaped with injuries to his shoulder, and soon after, Seren was shot to death in her cage in the late summer of 2001, at the will of Bob Miner himself. A convicted felon who is not legally allowed to posses firearms, who admits mental instability and illness to his patrons every tour he gives.  

Seren was stuffed and sold by Miner. Her carcass is now in a local museum with a $1500 price tag.


DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Seren, shot and sold by DEW.


In 2005, a male lion named Baghwa was shot in his cage by Julie Miner. There are conflicting accounts about what led up to the incident, but they all agree that Bob Miner was in the cage with Baghwa during feeding time and had forgotten to lock a gate separating him from the lion. When Baghwa felt that his food was threatened (possibly because Bob had been trying to steal his food in order to tease him), he retaliated and started to bite Miner’s face. Miner then bit Baghwa and managed to escape the enclosure with injuries. Julie Miner returned to the lion’s pen and shot him while Bob brought a backhoe to dispose of the carcass. Then, Julie drove Bob to the hospital.

When asked by a tour group why Bob didn’t call 911, he replied, Because then it would have been public knowledge and they probably would have shut me down.”  Baghwa’s body was given to a local trapper’s club and skinned.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

Baghwa, before and after his death.


Does DEW Need Donations?

Like most pseudo-sanctuaries, the Miners have DEW Haven registered as a nonprofit organization and tug on the public’s heartstrings by claiming that they  operate on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to improve their ramshackle enclosures unless more people donate. This story doesn’t match up with DEW’s 2015 tax returns, which reveal that the zoo had over $200,000 in assets (including over $120,000 in cash) and raked in nearly $90,000 of profit during that year alone.

In 2015, $60,000 was spent on salaries for the Miners and their staff, while just $9,050 went to food and veterinary care for all 200+ animals living at DEW.  By comparison, a legitimate facility will typically spend roughly $10,000 each year to care for a single adult tiger.

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

An expense report from DEW’s 2015 tax returns.

What happens to the rest of the public’s donations? Recent Facebook posts reveal DEW’s owners buying luxury cars and trucks while their animals live in conditions that they just “can’t afford” to improve:

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle

DEW Haven:Yankee Jungle 59

Tax returns also show that DEW only attributed 11.4% of its 2015 income to public donations. The rest of the income, totaling almost $280,000, was obtained through “unrelated business activities,” defined as commercial activity not substantially related to furthering the exempt purpose of the organization — in DEW’s case, animal protection and welfare.


Eyewitness Reports

For every animal welfare violation that inspectors can catch, there is often more abuse going on “behind the scenes.” Former volunteers and interns report seeing the following while working at DEW:

“I personally witnessed Bob attach a chain to a living cow in the back of his truck, attach the other end of the chain to a tree and drive away to get the cow out of his truck. The cow suffered with broken hips for days, but Bob would not put it out of its misery. A long as the cow was breathing the meat would stay fresh.”

“One time, they received a cow with broken back leg tendons, so it needed to be put down and couldn’t walk. It was going to be used for cat feed, which is normal for DEW and other zoos. They chained the cow to the back hoe and dragged it out to the pasture, by its back legs as it was in SEVERE pain. They left this female cow next to the pile of rotting animal carcasses in the sun, without shade or water, for over 3 days before they finally killed it. They told interns to “just not look at it” if we had to go into the cow pasture (everyone was visibly upset when they saw it). This cow suffered for many days, they didn’t want to ‘waste’ food and water on it since they were going to feed it out later that week.”

“The rabbits had been purchased in bulk to be killed off for serval food, as the servals prefer to eat smaller animals instead of large pieces of carcass. These rabbits were put in a large cage outside in the back where guests couldn’t see them. The cage was in the sun, in the middle of the summer. It looked like a multi-level ferret cage. These rabbits had no food or water for the first two days they were there, as they didn’t want to waste resources on feeding and watering animals that were meant to be food. The Miners eventually killed them to be put in the freezer with the rest of the rotting meat to be fed out at a later date.”

“A deer (that they did not know was pregnant) was found with the baby half way hanging out of the mother and it was dead. Then they decided the best thing to do was tranquilize it. It got many cuts and was bleeding due to trying to get away from Bob and the team. He got one dart in it and it didnt go down. He got a second dart in it and it didnt go down. Finally he tried to lasso it. He ended up getting the wrong deer and it was trying so hard to get away and it flopped onto a sharp tree trunk which looked like it hurt it and then it was making choking sounds because it was twisting its neck in the lasso. They finally got the pregnant mom and pulled the baby out which was dead. Total process took probably a little over 2 hours of stress for the poor deer that was already probably in pain from the failed birth. And a dead baby at the Miners farm due to lack of veterinary care. But also, Bob was becoming very angry and stressed during the process and at one point he told us all to get out of the enclosure and as I began to follow the man in front of me, he grabbed my arm hard enough to hurt and screamed at me to go the other way. I did not like that he grabbed me like that when I don’t even know the man. He not much as even said hi to me or any of the other interns I saw since my week of working there. I also had one experience when the cow got out when Julie Miner was telling us to close the DEW gate. As there were two gates open, one intern began to ask which of the two gates to clarify. Julie spat at her, “Dont you EVER talk when I’m talking” and drove off. They are just not the nice people that everyone thinks.”

“The entire property reeked of rotting carcasses and feces. Many enclosures were substandard, not large enough, filthy and muddy. A serval cat was being kept in a large dog kennel and I was told it was temporary but I went back months later and it was still there. They have too many animals to care for properly.”


Visitors to DEW Haven report seeing animals being deliberately teased by Bob Miner for the enjoyment of the audience:

“There was a large rock outside the hyena’s enclosure that was right next to the fence. Bob had a bucket of road kill meat sitting there, while he was sitting on the rock. He teased that hyena with a piece of meat until the animal was so frustrated that it lunged at his shoulder, mouth wide open, but hit the fence. We were totally appalled by Bob’s behavior. It was disgusting to see him tease that animal like that. From what I saw at my last visit, I do believe they should be closed. From the sound of it, things have gotten even worse for the animals living there than they were years ago.”

“As Bob came to the Binturong [a nocturnal animal] that was sleeping on a raised up platform… …Bob had what looked like a metal sheet pan, and slammed the sheet pan on the fencing where the Binturong was sleeping, yelling, “Get UP!!”, and something about how they sleep a lot, playing to the crowd. For the Binturong, when the sheet pan hit the fence, it made a huge metal on metal noise and he jumped up scrambling for a second and looked frightened back and forth. It then slumped back down, like this happens all the time. It looked broken and depressed to me, not tired and sleepy.

I’m so disturbed by what I saw. It has taken a long time for me to get the distance I need from this horrible situation. I feel bad and the sick feeling isn’t leaving me. I get how people are fascinated by these places. It was like all these people are hypnotized by the exotic animals and can’t see the abuse and danger. Maybe they don’t care. I’ve cried about what happened there that day. Some of the parrots had more secure and roomy pens than some of the larger animals… …It makes me sick.”






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Posted on Oct 22, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Predators Unlimited

Predators Unlimited

Predators Unlimited (a.k.a. “Possman Wildlife Refuge”

— the name for their registered “nonprofit”) is a self-proclaimed “wildlife preserve” located in Homestead, Florida. It was founded in 2007 by alligator wrestler Jeremy Possman and his wife, Grisel Possman. Jeremy claims to have been working with big cats from a young age, but formerly made his living by wrestling alligators for tourists. A 2007 interview reveals his motivations for owning animals:

“[Possman] said some parents in Miccosukee tribe used to hope their children learned how to handle [alligators] because a good show could secure wealth for the family. “A long time ago, especially when the tourism of Florida was skyrocketing, most alligator handlers, they could pull a good amount of money in a week just off of tips,” Possman said. “Nowadays, its not as good.”

The article continues by revealing Mr. Possman’s attitude regarding the safe handling of exotics:

If you do get bit, a lot of times that just means more business,” Possman said. “Because they’re going to come back to see if it’s going to happen again.” 

Shortly after this article was published, Possman and his wife founded Predators Unlimited, possibly because they decided that the real money is in tigers and lions instead of alligators. The “sanctuary”/ business is run from the Possman’s backyard, where a menagerie of exotics, including tigers, lions, leopards, bobcats, wolves, primates, and even a Florida Panther live in ramshackle cages. It’s kind of scary, especially because the Possmans have young children (who are apparently encouraged to help “socialize” wolves). Yikes!

Like most exotic animal exploiters, the Possmans believe that it is their right to do whatever they want with exotic cats, and are good friends and allies of some of the worst abusers. There’s a photo of Grisel visiting her friend, Josip Marcan, whom she appears to have bought a tiger cub from. Grisel also has movie big cat owner/trainer Randy Miller and circus exploiter Felicia Frisco as “friends” on Facebook, and, along with her husband, “likes” a Facebook Group called “Big Cat Rescue Scam”, where big cat exploiters go to find distorted “proof” in their attempts to discredit Big Cat Rescue (I guess they must not have anything good to say about their own practices).

The Facebook page of a Possman family member and full-time employee of Predators Unlimited shows that she is “friends” with Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado, John Molnar (of Nevada’s infamous “Lion Habitat Ranch”), Vera Chaples of “Mystic Jungle”, and a wide variety of big cat “trainers”, owners, breeders, and “advocacy groups” which push for looser laws regarding their “property”. This particular employee’s main interests seem to be concealed weapons, racism, nonsense rants against the Humane Society/state agriculture departments/common-sense exotic animal laws, and hating Big Cat Rescue (because apparently, in his mind, selling coffee mugs with pictures of big cat “art” created during enrichment is “exploitation”, while locking a tiger in a cage and renting it out to a nightclub isn’t).

The Possmans make their money by exploiting their animals for profit throughout the state of Florida (and beyond). It appears that there’s really nothing that Predators Unlimited won’t force their animals to do for money, but most of their business seems to fall into 4 main categories:

Big Cats as “Rentals”:

Predators Unlimited’s “claim to fame” is their willingness to provide exotic animals as props for virtually any occasion.  According to their website: “This includes but is not limited to special events, birthday parties, weddings, corporate events, photoshoots, any film work, and any other social event you might have.” They contract with two Orlando-area event rental companies to do this, which I will go into more detail on later. While at an event, adult big cats are simply left in their tiny transport cages as a living “decoration”. For example, on August 16, 2015, an African Lion named Noah was rented as a party prop by Yehudi, a Jewish young professional’s network in Miami Beach. The party was called “Lions and Lemonade”, and Noah was the star attraction. Here is a video taken at the event, which shows the incredibly stressed-out lion panting and growling in his tiny cage.

Predators Unlimited also brought a caged golden tiger and baby cougars to a noisy album release party for rapper 2Chainz and his massive ego. The frightened animals were brought to Compound nightclub, where they were exposed to blasting music, bright lights, cigarette (and who knows what else) smoke, and fire. The poor monkey is squirming and trying to escape, while the older big cats look utterly defeated.

Predators Unlimited also exploits baby tigers at cub-petting displays 

It’s not just big cats that are used as props, either — Predators Unlimited rents out smaller exotics, like monkeys and lemurs. These usually used as props, but sometimes, if they’re hired for parties or petting zoos, they’re passed from guest to guest to be petted and posed with — whether the animal wants to or not. I’m no expert on primates, but it looks to me like Toby, their capuchin monkey, has had his canine teeth filed down to lessen the damage from a bite. This mutilation is extremely painful, but common among exploiters who want to make their animals “safe” for public contact.

Show Business:

Predators Unlimited regularly provides live exotics for photo shoots, commercials, TV, movies, and music videos. According to their website, their animals have appeared in C.S.I Miami, Dexter, Law & Order, and, ironically, Fatal Attractions. Oh, and that “elephant appreciation event” was billed as a “fundraiser for elephants” on Predators Unlimited’s Facebook Page. It sounds nice, until you learn that it was a fundraiser for Patricia Zerbini, a retired circus trainer who makes a living renting out elephants to fairs and circuses.  The Possmans “drove all the way to Gainesville” with a young African lion and displayed her in a tiny “circus wagon” because they wanted to raise money “for elephants.” Or for the right to pimp out exotic animals for profit. It’s hard to tell.

Here’s one of their baby panthers in a Rick Ross music video.

And the same one on set for several photo shoots.

“Educational Shows”:

This is a euphemism for dragging animals around to fairs, carnivals, and other events. Predators Unlimited offers fairs a circus-style performing animal show

alligator wrestling, and an exotic animal petting zoo. Because there’s nothing more “educational” than seeing someone stick his head in a tiger’s mouth. (You know I’m being sarcastic, right?)  While at fairs, the big cats and other animals that aren’t performing are left “on display” in tiny, barren travel cages for days so that fairgoers can gawk at them (look at the background in these two pictures). Predators Unlimited posts photos of this, saying that the cats are “having fun.” Does this look like “fun” to you?

Tiger Photos:

Of all the things Predators Unlimited does, this is by far the scariest. They allow anyone with money to pose with adult (or baby) big cats for photos (remember when Darnell Dockett posed with a tiger? Or Shaquille O’Neal’s family? How about when Jaime Fox had a baby lion brought to his house? That was Predators Unlimited at work).

Predators Unlimited provides tigers to Miami-based professional photographer Lopez Falcon, who uses them as props in photo shoots for quinceanaras. This means that teenage girls are allowed to pose next to, or even touching, 650-lb. adult tigers, with nothing more than a handheld chain or metal stake “restraining” them. This isn’t even legal! It’s obviously incredibly dangerous, and if it continues, someone will get seriously hurt or killed. There have already been some extremely close calls. I found  this shocking video that Falcon posted about what happened “behind-the-scenes” at one such photo shoot last year.

We see Cylon (the same golden tabby used at Tatiana) being led out of his transport carrier on a chain by Jeremy Possman. The massive tiger is brought into a house, where the shoot will take place. Suddenly, Cylon panics and starts desperately running around the set in an attempt to escape. Possman is obviously unable to restrain Cylon as he blindly rushes around the home, destroying equipment and furniture in the process (and sending staff running). Eventually, Possman and the photograph staff use furniture to herd the frightened cat back onto his “mark.” Possman gives Cylon’s rump a swat, and the cat finally gives up and lies down, ears pinned back in fear.

The Animals:

Predators Unlimited has a pretty consistent menagerie, so it’s fairly easy to tell which individual cat is used where and when. This is not a complete list, but it does cover many of Predators Unlimited’s most frequently exploited big cats.

The Possmans like to acquire their animals at a young age so that they can hand-raise them. From the moment a cub is bought by Predators Unlimited, we believe his or her life becomes nothing but exploitation. A good example of this is Zeus, the Florida Panther.

In 2012, Zeus was born at an unknown breeder. When he was just six weeks old, in November, he was sold to the Possmans, where he was treated as a housepet. Sometimes, when Zeus wasn’t being cuddled, the Possmans staked the tiny cub to the ground to prepare him for a lifetime of exploitation.

A few weeks later, little Zeus found himself being literally dragged by his leash to a charity event, where Predator’s Unlimited was hired to do an “educational show”. By Christmas, the cub was being carted across the country to be used as a prop at photo shoots and music videos (which I showed you earlier). He was even snuck into a New York hotel!

As Zeus grew, the Possmans continued to exploit him by displaying his cage at fairs. When he became large enough to hurt someone at about one year of age, trainers holding sticks started to “work with him”, likely in the hopes that he’ll become a “showbiz animal”. He was also seen chained to the ground in the Possman’s backyard. Zeus still makes appearances at fairs.

Noah is one of the Possman’s male African Lions, and is easily one of their most exploited animals. He was used at the Yehudi party I mentioned earlier, and was also used in fairground shows. Like Zeus, Noah was acquired (and chained to the ground) at a young age.  Here is a picture of Noah as a juvenile in his backyard enclosure.

In 2010, Noah was rented out to a church, where he was used as a prop in a sermon.  Noah was chained up inside a tiny transport cage and placed on the pulpit the night before the sermon. During rehearsals, pictures and images of lions were displayed on screens in the room, and, according to the pastor, “he didn’t like that”. The next day, during the real sermon, witnesses claim that Noah was pacing neurotically back and forth the entire time.

Noah is used at many, many events, usually as a display animal.

Cylon is a male “golden tabby” tiger, and another one of the most frequently abused. The Possmans acquired him as a cub sometime before 2011, when this photo was taken.

In 2012, Cylon was displayed in a small cage during a cruel animal “exhibit” held at AllPets Emporium, a pet megastore in Pembroke Pines. The large sores on Cylon’s elbows and nose suggest that he had spent a lot of time in that cage. And maybe it’s just the angle of this picture, but he looked a little skinny, too.

Cylon, and his permanently-scarred nose, is frequently used for photoshoots to this day. He was also caged at Tatiana, which Predators Unlimited apparently finds “no more cruel than having a dog on a leash.”

Aries is a white tiger who appears to have been purchased from Josip Marcan as a cub sometime in 2012. You can tell him apart from the Possman’s other white tiger because his stripes are much fainter. Aries quickly became a favorite photo prop among the Possmans, and is used as a performing cat at fairs.  He was also rented out to Tatiana.

Saber is a male “standard” tiger. He was raised in the Possman’s home as a cub.  Later, he was staked to the ground to take photos with Darnell Dockett and Shaquille O’Neal. Saber is used for commercial photo work and as a fairground display. He also made appearances at Tatiana.

Mystery Cubs:

While Predators Unlimited does own intact tigers of both sexes, Jeremy Possman claims that he does not breed his cats. The Possmans seem to be the type of people who would brag about breeding if they did, and since I couldn’t find many “cub photos” on their websites, I find this claim believable.

But, their most recent USDA inspection, from September 2015, notes that they now have 10 tigers.

And Predators Unlimited has often been seen bringing  tiny tiger cubs to events as photo and petting props.  We know that Predators Unlimited won’t hesitate to exploit cubs they already own (here’s a picture of a baby lion on display at the pet store). And, just 3 months ago, an employee/family member of Predators Unlimited posted this video of her showing off two screaming 4-week-old tiger cubs to her friends. It’s possible that the cubs in the video are the same ones in the “petting zoo” photo I linked to earlier. But where did they come from?

I don’t think these cubs were born at Predators Unlimited. The Possmans are good friends with other private owners/breeders, and there are a lot of them in Florida. My best guess is that Predators Unlimited buys cubs off of other breeders.

These photos from spring 2014 show a Predators Unlimited employee and her family at what appears to be a backyard breeder (plywood walls, rusty cages, the whole lot). She’s holding tiger cubs that are just days old. 

But then again, those photos are tagged as being taken “near Naranja, Florida”, which is where this employee supposedly lives. A possibility (although it’s just a guess) is that the cubs could be bred at her (or another employee’s) property and brought over to Homestead. That way, Jeremy Possman could technically say that he doesn’t breed…

Regardless of where these cubs came from, the orange one was named Raja. Raja was sick as a cub — you can see sores on his nose and eyes in this photo. His owners mention that he “had a little issue”, but “is doing better” in the comments of this photo.

The only bright side to this is that Predators Unlimited doesn’t “discard” growing cubs like other facilities do — once they buy a cub, they’ll usually keep it (and exploit it) for life.


Backyard Enclosures:

predators unlimited property

As I mentioned earlier, Predators Unlimited is run from a private backyard, so it’s difficult to see the kind of conditions the cats live in when not being carted around as party props. So, I used Google Earth to get a bird’s eye view of the property. You can see the pitiful enclosures above.  It looks like your standard, dilapidated “backyard menagerie”, with an assortment of small, dubious-looking enclosures made out of chain link fence and rusted metal sheeting. You can get another (bad) look at the property with

I used Google Earth’s surprisingly accurate “ruler” feature (I tested it on some sports fields and got the right dimensions) to get a rough idea of how large some of the enclosures are. The largest enclosure on the Possman’s property, which I believe is home to several tigers, measures roughly 2,397 square feet — which is slightly smaller than a regulation doubles tennis court. Other photos, although they are older, show concrete flooring in at least part of some enclosures.  Fortunately, the larger enclosures do have a mulch substrate, as well as some platforms and perches for the cats, which is better than some backyard owners can manage.

Interestingly, Google Earth has cached photos from the same spot going back to 1994. I reviewed them, and discovered that there were no animal enclosures on the property at all until late 2007, suggesting that Predators Unlimited was created as a money-making venture (and not just by existing exotics owners who decided they could make a quick buck off of their “pets.”) And, just over the past year alone, 6 smaller cages have popped up in the Possman’s backyard as they acquire more animals.

USDA Inspection Records:

I looked into Predators Unlimited’s USDA inspection reports (their license # is 58-C-0899). I was unable to find very much new information. The inspectors are unable to find anything either, because the Possmans have gotten very good at dodging them. In recent years, inspectors arriving at the facility haven’t been able to find anyone available to do the inspection. It’s gotten to the point where the USDA has been attempting inspections once a month (which is extremely often for them). No dice. In one case, the inspector called Possman’s cell phone, only to be told that “he was away” and “didn’t know when he’d be back”. In November 2014, the inspector called, and was told that, because the Possmans had a court appearance, nobody would be home. They then suggested that early mornings or late afternoons would be “the best times for inspections.”  It almost seems like Predators Unlimited is trying to keep federal inspectors away from their facility… but why?

There is an important note regarding the USDA reports.  Predators Unlimited houses animals in their backyard — that’s the main facility that they registered under. But, they also house some of their cats (2 black leopards, 2 “rescued” Florida panthers who were supposedly brought to them by Florida’s FWS and promptly used as petting cubs, a bobcat, a caracal, and a serval) as exhibits at Sawgrass Recreation Park. I believe that these exhibits are inspected under the normal Predators Unlimited license (the park itself does have a license, but their animal inventory only includes pigs). During inspections of the Sawgrass exhibits, the site is recorded as “TRA” as if it were a traveling exhibit. If you see “2 leopards” in the animal inventory, it’s likely that the inspection was at Sawgrass, because that’s where Predators Unlimited’s two black leopards currently reside. The leopard and panther enclosures, while quite small,

at least have some enrichment items in them (too bad their Fennec Fox and Caracal can’t say the same).

And look what they’re “teaching” the public about wildlife — that baby bobcats are cuddly little cats to put on a leash and play with.

Also, this is probably why the panther enclosure was muddy in one of the inspection reports.

The Affiliates/Contact Info:

Their affiliates: the photographers and venues which hire their animals as props, and especially the party rental businesses which “rent out” Predators Unlimited’s big cats to anyone who can pay for them, should be educated as to why this is so wrong. It’s disgusting, but these businesses allow people to rent a live tiger or lion like they would an inflatable bounce house. These rental brokers are the primary driver of Predators Unlimited’s business, so if we can convince them to stop offering live animals as “rentals”, it should deal a huge blow to big cat exploitation in Florida.

There are two big party rental businesses that contract with Predators Unlimited to rent out big cats. They are Xtreme Event Rentals, owned by Brian Baird, and No Limit Event Rentals, owned by Greg Miller.

Greg Miller appears to be a good friend of the Possmans, and his “No Limit Event Rentals” claims to be “the best place for bounce house rentals in Orlando.” But when he isn’t renting inflatables, rock walls, and carnival games, he brokers Predators Unlimited’s big cats and other animals for events, and rents out their cubs for petting props.  And he contracts with other exhibitors, too, so that he can offer live elephants, zebras, and giraffes as party props. I guess you could say there’s “no limit” to the animals he’ll exploit. No Limit Event Rentals is a major supporter of Predators Unlimited. Contact them here.

Brian Baird’s Xtreme Entertainment is another major broker for Predators Unlimited. They’re the ones who rented the cubs to an event where video showed them being slapped and dragged by their leashes. Their site has two pages worth of rentable animals, most of which are from Predators Unlimited. On the site, the animals are literally listed as “rental items” that customers can add to their online shopping cart. The descriptions often treat the animals as if they were toys or props, like the listing for the sloth:

It comes with trainer and 6 ft tall stand with a 8 ft log. Sloth will be displayed on the log and will move back and forth. Price includes delivery to Orlando Area.”

Contact Xtreme Entertainment at You can also use this online form.

Other affiliates:

Lopez Falcon, the photographer who risks lives by using Predators Unlimited’s tigers for photo shoots with teenagers, can be contacted at, and/or via this online form.
The Secret Gardens in Miami is an event venue that offers “exotic animal life rentals”, including tiger cubs, for use as props. It’s where Lopez Falcon does many of his tiger photo shoots. And guess where the animals come from?

Well, I can’t prove they’re from Predators Unlimited, but the Secret Gardens is very close to the Possman’s facility, and any facility that rents tiger cubs is worth contacting, anyways. Contact them here.

Predators Unlimited Renting Out Cubs

Note the Predators Unlimited staff slapping the cub and jerking him around by his leash.  Whenever you see the nose scuffed up, like this poor little tiger cub, you know that they are kept in tiny cages where they pace constantly and rub the fur off their nose.  Whenever you see the washed out color, like this little cub, you know that the owners have purposely inbred their tigers, trying to create odd color morphs that ignorant people will pay to see and pet.


Xtreme Entertainment brokers events with these kinds of operations.

USDA citations for not allowing inspection of facility, not allowing inspection at venue, dangerous, dilapidated cages and a hole in the bobcat cage big enough for the alligators next door to get through.  Is this the kind of thing you want associated with your business?





Customer No: 40107
Certificate No: 58-C-0899
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Dec 10, 2007

31705 Long Acres Dr.                    
Sorrento, FL  32776                     

Jo Conte                                                

Date   Activity         Quantity     Rate        Amount     
07/11/2014 Exotic Baby Bengal Tiger       1         1,500.00       1,500.00 
           -  A live Tiger at your                                          
           event!  Wow your crowd                                           
           with a very cute, cuddly                                         
           and entertaining baby                                            
           tiger.  Licensed by the                                          
           USDA and FWC and living                                          
           in a nature preserve                                             
           lovingly cared for, he                                           
           comes with his handler -                                         
           who will give educational                                        
           tidbits about animals and                                        
           answer any questions you                                         
           may have - and is able                                           
           to be on a leash to walk                                         
           around your area, be                                             
           petted and take pictures                                         
           or video with you and                                            
           your guests.                                                     
           Included: Handler and                                            
           Rate for up to 3 hours of                                        
           event time - some minutes                                        
           of down time/rest will be                                        
           taken throughout the 3                                           
           If confirmed, must be                                            
           confirmed before                                                 
           September as by then he                                          
           will be too big to be on                                         
           a leash or out and about.                                        
           USDA License #:58-C-0899                                         
           FWC-Class 1 ESA License#:                                        
07/11/2014 Delivery/Pick up & Set-Up      1           250.00         250.00T
                                     SubTotal:                    $1,750.00
                                     Tax (7%):                       $17.50
                                     Total:                       $1,767.50



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Posted on Dec 20, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

ALERT Lion Petting Walking

ALERT Lion Petting Walking

ALERT which is an acronym for something like African Lion Environment … (I can’t find it on their outdated website) first came up on our radar in Dec 2015 when we were told that Animal Planet had aired yet another bogus show that claimed to be real conservation but seems to be nothing more than a series long advertisement for a lion pay to play scheme.

The show, called Roaring With Pride, filmed in 2013 – 2014 by Godunnit Productions proclaimed that it was a series that followed the release of captive bred lions back into the wild.

I knew right then it was going to be a lie, since there have been no successful captive breeding programs for big cats who have then been released into the wild.  The only ones you hear of are the entertainment – disguised – as – science shows that air on Animal Planet and History channel.

Anyone who knows anything about rehab and release of wild animals knows that the very first rule is to limit human contact because if big cats feel comfortable around people, then they don’t mind walking up to the school bus stop for a snack, or wandering into barns, farms, etc. That is what gets them (and those in their path) killed.  The idiocy of a show that claims you can:

  1. Breed cubs to use in photo ops and pay to play schemes.
  2. Then you can charge people to walk with them in the wild.
  3. Then you can send them out to live free when they are too dangerous to use as photo props.

is just beyond belief.  The sad part is that people want to believe it, and television caters to the lowest common denominator.

Knowing this place had to be bad, or ill conceived at the best, this is what I’ve learned.

ALERT’s website has a story dated 2012 on its main page, which would indicate that it isn’t updated very often.  See screen shot below.

It used to be that tourism sites would promote these pay to play schemes, but now it is so commonly known that there is no legitimate way to play with cubs and then send them to the wild.  In fact, what the real documentaries and investigators have found is that these cubs usually end up being sold into canned hunts where they are shot in fenced areas for a hefty fee.

Zambia Tourism initially had lion walks as an activity to experience, but after they brought in a reporter to look into ALERT further, they changed their offerings.  Learn more here

It appears that ALERT bought many of their lions from some of the canned hunt facilities.  Most people will say they started off with good intentions, but to our knowledge they haven’t released or even gone passed stage stage 2 of 4 in their release program.  In the show they boast that the lions have been released into the “wild” but then they further describe that as being 400 acres.  That isn’t even one square mile.  It’s no where near enough space for the cats to survive, which is evidenced by the fact that they have to keep rounding up zebra, giraffes and other hoofstock for the cats to kill.

So far no one has caught ALERT selling lions, but they are still breeding, which is ridiculous, given the lack of space, resources or any long term plan for cats who will never be released to the real wild. Using their lions in walks with people ensures that they will never be candidates for release.

The documents at the above link provide evidence from the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from 2012 confirming that:

Cara Watts, ‘Lions Manager’ at Lion Encounter Zambia (which is named as ALERT‘s partner in ALERT‘s accounts), was the named importer of 5 lions from Horseback Africa in South Africa, under a CITES export permit dated 11 September 2009, and a further 7 lions from that operation under a CITES export permit dated 15 January 2010;

Richard Leach, General Manager at Lion Encounter Zambia, was the named importer of 7 lions from Boschput Game Farm in South Africa under a CITES export permit dated 23 December 2010 (which lions are listed as having been exported to ALERT Zambia’s address at Melrose Farm);

Andrew Connolly, Director of ALERT, Lion Encounter Zambia and Antelope Park (where ALERT is based in Zimbabwe) was the named importer of 10 lions from Myburgh Farm in South Africa under a CITES export permit dated 3 October 2008. ALERT / LION ENCOUNTER ZAMBIA’S SUPPLIERS.

Horseback Africa are believed to speed breed and exploit captive bred lions to the extent that 2 of those sourced by ALERT and / or Lion Encounter Zambia subsequently had to be put down.

ALERT apparently ‘…expressed concern over the purpose for which this particular operation is breeding lions as well as the welfare conditions of the lions at that operation’ (above Safaritalk link). This, however, would seem to be contradicted by their partner’s imports from that operation.

Boschput Game Farm breed lions for sale and, from their lions for sale page, given that those pictured are all adult males who would be prized as trophies, it seems entirely possible that they could also be selling lions for canned hunts.

Myburgh Farm describes itself as a lion ‘farm’ on its website and is also heavily involved in the exploitation of captive bred lions for cub petting and photo ops.

ALERT, Lion Encounter Zambia and Mukuni Big 5 safaris all worked together to capture an unfortunate, genuinely wild, male lion who happened to stray too near to their operations early in 2012.–-diary-his-capture

Unfortunately it seems this lion, named ‘Dynamite’ who is still the subject of their main web page as of Dec 2015, subsequently died in transit ( from Lion Encounter Zambia.

So, to sum up, what we have here is official Parliamentary evidence of 29 lions sourced by ALERT / Lion Encounter Zambia (same staff, same lions and evidence of transfer of lions and funds between the two in the public domain) from three separate unethical South African lion breeding operations between October 2008 and December 2010. ie from the canned hunting industry.

Lionaid alleges:

I sat down with Andrew (Connolly of Antelope Park/ALERT) in Leeds in 2012 and explained my concerns about the lack of progress and constant production of cubs for the walking programmes. He told me it was their only form of income to bring the lions to the future stages, but acknowledged there was a huge bottleneck.

I can assure you that the lions are not being sold for canned hunts. But the continuous accumulation of lions is worrisome.

So make of this what you will. It may well be that the project started with honest intentions, but it was doomed to fail for a number of reasons. Think about it – they are breeding cubs that are going nowhere.

Assuming 50% males, most of whom will become surplus males even if all the goals of the project were met (they won’t be) what will become of the ‘surplus males’?  Well you surely do not need that spelled out, do you?

Finally, if I have not convinced you, you could approach Dr Luke Hunter at Panthera to obtain a copy of the scientific report that concludes that such a project has no conservation value.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 2.28.59 PM

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Posted on Sep 7, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Tiger Encounter Linda Terry and Felicia Frisco

Tiger Encounter Linda Terry and Felicia Frisco

Tiger Exploitation at Sarasota Fair


From Howard Baskin 3-24-12:  Yesterday I went to the Sarasota County Fair where Joe Schreibvogel has 3 tiger cubs. Nearby the equally despicable Frisco Family has their little circus act.  Schreibvogel has two cubs there that are probably about six months old.  They spend all day in small barren cages, perhaps 8 or so  feet square.  You can see one in the photo below.  Behind the cub you can see another small cage that houses a tiny cub that Schreibvogel’s people say is 10 weeks old.  This poor little guy is the money maker.  Person after person after person was charged $30 to spend about 8 minutes handling this poor cub virtually nonstop for hours.  I heard Schreibvogel’s manager telling people there was an hour wait.




The Friscos make their money from tigers by putting on a 20 minute pathetic little circus act with 4-6 tigers a few times a day in the small ring pictured below.



The cats do about a half dozen “tricks” like hopping up on stools and rolling over on the ground.  One hops on its back legs, not something any tiger would ever do naturally in the wild and not something that is likely to be good for its legs and back.  And where do these grown tigers stay when not in the ring?  They live in tiny boxes pictured below where they can do little more than stand up and turn around.



Schriebvogel has now given me the dubious honor of featuring a photo of me with law enforcement officers on his Facebook page, claiming that “Criminal charges are being filed on Howard Baskin of Big Cat Rescue for Assaulting a Tiger trainer at a fair in Florida,” which apparently is Terry Frisco’s claim.  The truth is that as I was trying to leave the fair, Frisco ran in front of me, blocked me with his body and arms outstretched, and when I tried to step around him he bumped me, claimed I had bumped him, and then suddenly shoved me violently to the ground without provocation.  The law enforcement officials had us each write out our statements, which is what is happening in the photo Schreibvogel posted.  No charges have been filed.


But, the police report and Schreibvogel’s post are not their biggest lie.  The biggest lie is the sign that claims that watching tigers used to make money this way somehow preserves the endangered species.



Today protesters held up signs on the main street by the fair to express their objection to this exploitation.  Many thanks to them for taking the time and effort to be a voice for the animals!


Meantime, these poor animals will suffer for one more day here, then be boxed up and carted across the country in tiny cages so Schreibvogel and Frisco can selfishly use them to make money at the next stop.


The insensitive management of the Saratoga County Fair was unwilling to stop this inhumane treatment of animals despite receiving over 1200 emails from people who care about animals.  But, in the last year or so at least 21 venues have agreed not to allow Schreibvogel’s exploitive cub petting exhibit once they learned the truth about what happens to these poor cubs and learned there were so many people like you who do not want to see animals used this way.  The trend is in our favor and your persistence in letting them know how you feel is paying off.


Thanks very much for helping us stop abuse of big cats!

Tim Frisco is Terry Frisco’s brother.  The apples didn’t far fall from the tree.


Elephant Kills Shrine Circus Trainer


Opinion by PETA 2010

A reportedly “startled” elephant kicked a circus trainer or groom so hard that he was thrown 20 feet and died of his injuries at the scene. The attack occurred backstage at a Shrine Circus performance Friday evening in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The elephant involved is believed to be an African elephant named Dumbo, who was captured in Africa in 1985 and belongs to Terry Frisco. PETA has previously caught Terry’s brother, Tim Frisco, beating elephants behind-the-scenes.

No word yet on whether circus mouthpieces are attempting to claim that the elephant was “playing” with the trainer, but if a “startled” elephant can be this dangerous, imagine the damage that a really angry elephant can inflict. It makes the video that we told you about last week—in which a trainer with the Liebel Family Circus holds a toddler in one hand as she uses a bullhook in the other to jabs an elephant with a bullhook in the other—all the more harrowing.

This isn’t the first time that an elephant has lethally lashed out at the guy wielding the bullhook, and it almost certainly won’t be the last. Circuses rely on an abusive training regimen that starts with beatings and intimidation from the time that elephants are still babies and doesn’t stop until they’ve performed their last headstand. Is it any wonder that some of these gentle giants eventually get fed up and fight back?

PETA has been trying to convince the Shriners to stop using animal circuses as fundraisers for years to no avail, despite the fact that their circuses are connected to a growing list of dangerous and deadly incidents involvingwith wild animals connected to its circuses. Last year, two elephants performing at the Murat Shrine Circus in Indianapolis, Indiana, knocked down a mobile staircase during elephant rides, resulting in a dozen children being treated by paramedics.

In 2005, a trainer was stomped to death by an elephant used in a Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2002 and again in 2003, elephants bolted from the Shrine Circus tents and went on rampages in Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively. It’s sad to think that this tragic list of deaths and injuries has failed t o make them Shriners come to their senses.


Other reports about Joe Frisco and his son, Terry Frisco and Felicia Frisco


There is a paparazzi style media group called Splash that seem to make a career out of promoting cruel acts involving animals.

They promoted Jim Jablon spending a month in a cage with two lion cubs.  The unemployed Jablon claimed to have made more than $70,000 off that publicity stunt, but did not say how much he had to pay Splash.

The very next month Splash was promoting Kevin Antle, who calls himself Doc Antle, on Good Morning America who vouched for the circus family of Frisco’s who call their act Tiger Encounter.  GMA had learned that Antle had sold the tiger to them, but he claimed that the cub was born at the Frisco’s compound and that the cats were not related to his.  No government agency currently keeps very good track of where they are born, sold or end up when they die which could explain why the U.S. is the second largest consumer of illegal tiger parts.

Some accounts state that Terry, Linda and Felicia Frisco are based out of Peoria and others say they are camped out in Tampa, Florida.  They travel with tigers and elephants that are made to perform un natural acts before crowds of ill informed, or ill mannered people who either don’t know or don’t care about the suffering inherent in being forced to travel long hours, relegated to circus wagons, only to be put through their paces at the end of a whip or bull hook.

While the family claims to only train using positive reinforcement, that is what all the circus folk say, and it is not the only training required to make animals do things that are painful and fearful for them to do.

Since the people who profit from these kinds of stories are those who force animals to entertain, or who breed them for the purpose of pulling them from their mothers to be used as photo props or pay to play sessions, the only way to stop the abuse is to refuse to hand over your money.  There are no good places that allow contact or that pose with wild animals, thus driving the market for pay to play sessions.  If you see someone posing with a tiger or a lion; even a cub, then you know that they are not kind to animals and haven’t thought twice about the misery they are inflicting through their actions.

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