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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 rentals@party-rentals-orlando.com. 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 lopez_falcon@yahoo.com, 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?

PredatorsUnlimited-USDA-violations-2013-05151130916525552

PredatorsUnlimited-USDA-violations-2013-09273131725210510

PredatorsUnlimited-USDA-violations-2014-1-15141857130082

PredatorsUnlimited-USDA-violations-2014-01-365131015271502

GRISEL POSSMAN (PREDATORS UNLIMITED)
Customer No: 40107
Certificate No: 58-C-0899
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Dec 10, 2007
P O BOX 343498 HOMESTEAD ,FL 33034COUNTY: MIAMI-DADE

31705 Long Acres Dr.                    
Sorrento, FL  32776                     
(407)284-1635                           
rentals@party-rentals-orlando.com       
www.party-rentals-orlando.com           

                                                                
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                                            
           accessories                                                      
           Rate for up to 3 hours of                                        
           event time - some minutes                                        
           of down time/rest will be                                        
           taken throughout the 3                                           
           hours.                                                           
           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#:                                        
           2367                                                             
07/11/2014 Delivery/Pick up & Set-Up      1           250.00         250.00T
           Fee                                                              
                                          
                                                    
____________________________________________________________________________
                                     SubTotal:                    $1,750.00
                                     Tax (7%):                       $17.50
                                     --------------------------------------
                                     Total:                       $1,767.50

 

 

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Posted on Sep 19, 2016 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.

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: http://bigcatrescue.org/usfws-rescinds-generic-tiger-loophole/

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:  http://bigcatrescue.org/usda-announces-partial-cub-petting-ban/

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 OF LAKE NORMAN INC

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 OF LAKE NORMAN INC

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 OF LAKE NORMAN INC

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 OF LAKE NORMAN INC

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

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Dec 30, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2
ZOOTASTIC OF LAKE NORMAN INC

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

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

 

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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 www.zootasticpark.com.

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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 http://www.zambiatourism.com/activities/adventure/lion-walks

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.
https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/question957.pdf

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. http://safaritalk.net/topic/7535-press-release-from-lion-encounter-zambia/

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. http://zambezitraveller.com/livingstone/conservation/livingstone-lion-–-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 (http://www.lionalert.org/article/217) 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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Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Abuse, Browse by Name, News Feed | 0 comments

Darling Downs Zoo Rents Out Their Cubs

Darling Downs Zoo Rents Out Their Cubs

Department of Primary Industries broke its own rules

in allowing lion cubs at Ian Malouf’s party

Landfill site party

Breached own regulations … Zookeeper Stephanie Robinson with lion cub Spot at the landfill site at Eastern Creek. Picture: Tim Hunter Source: The Daily Telegraph

Landfill site party

VIP tour …NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is given at tour of the landfill site by entrepreneur Ian Malouf. Picture: Tim Hunter Source: The Daily Telegraph

WHEN Dial A Dump entrepreneur Ian Malouf threw a party to celebrate the opening of his massive Sydney landfill site, there were crowds, a concert, indoor fireworks – and two tiny lion cubs.

But now the Department of Primary Industries, which approved the presence of the cubs, has been criticised for breaking its own rules.

Mr Malouf, 46, laid out $500,000 on alcohol, pyrotechnics, performances from singer Vanessa Amorosi and X-Factor contestant Andrew Wishart for the launch of his new 150m-deep Genesis site at Eastern Creek, in western Sydney, earlier this month.

The lion cubs, named Spot and Spike, were hired from Darling Downs Zoo in Queensland for the gala party, attended by more than 600 people, including Premier Barry O’Farrell.

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Witnesses said the lion cubs were carried around the party by zookeepers and guests could have their picture taken with the cubs but were not allowed to touch them.

The use of the lion cubs was approved by the DPI Animal Welfare division, despite department guidelines stating animals must be kept away from loud noises and not be led through crowds.

Greens MP and animal welfare spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said the event would have been terrifying for the eight-week-old cubs.

“Most people would be appalled if they knew the government approved this,” she said. “It appears that the department signed off on using the lion cubs in this way in direct contradiction with their own guidelines.”

Ms Faehrmann said the guidelines needed to be strengthened to prevent a recurrence. But Darling Downs Zoo owner Stephanie Robinson, who is hand-raising the cubs, said they were not in the room during the performances or fireworks.

“We were out there for 30 minutes,” she said. “They put the music on and we left and then we came back for another 15 minutes.

“They turned all the music down for us when we were out there, so there was no noise or stress. We are very strict on the conditions.”

Mrs Robinson said it was the only request the zoo had received to hire the animals.

A DPI spokeswoman confirmed it had given approval for two African lions to be displayed for up to three hours, but had not received any complaints.

“DPI is not aware of the issues you are raising, as a representative of DPI was not present at the opening, nor would there usually be,” she said.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/department-of-primary-industries-broke-its-own-rules-in-allowing-lion-cubs-at-ian-maloufs-party-at-eastern-creek/story-e6freuy9-1226230308201

Aninyha flies to her new home

30th December 2011

IN JUST a few hours, Darling Downs Zoo lion cub Aninyha will touch down at Hobart Airport and make herself right at home in the Richmond Zoodoo Wildlife Park.Richmond Zoodoo Wildlife Park’s managing director Trevor Cuttriss plays with Aninyha the lion cub before they board the plane to Hobart.

IN JUST a few hours, Darling Downs Zoo lion cub Aninyha will touch down at Hobart Airport and soon make herself right at home in the Richmond Zoodoo Wildlife Park.

The 12-week-old lion cub was relaxed and playful when she said goodbye to Darling Downs Zoo owner Steve Robinson before she boarded a small plane at the Toowoomba Airport to begin the five-and-a-half hour journey to her new home at the wildlife park, accompainied by the park’s managing director Trevor Cuttriss.

Mr Robinson said he could only afford to keep one of the lion cubs which was born a few months ago, but was confident Aninyha could not go to a better home.

“The trouble with raising animals like this is it’s always going to be sad,” he said.

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