USA Today Report Oklahoma animal park let kids play with tigers

GW Exotic Animal Park in central Oklahoma has 200 tigers and more than 1,000 other animals. Its owner, Joe Schreibvogel, has been in the news many times for running a substandard zoo and allowing dangerous interactions between children and baby tigers. But Schreibvogel’s recent erratic behavior before Ohio lawmakers has advocates worried that GW Exotic is a disaster waiting to happen.

Joe Schreibvogel traveled to Ohio in April 2012 to lobby against Senate Bill 310, the bill to restrict private ownership of dangerous animals kept in captivity. The bill is a result of the Zanesville animal disaster that left 49 exotic animals slaughtered and the owner of the facility, Terry Thompson dead.

Schreibvogel told legislators that Terry Thompson was “murdered by animal advocates to advance an agenda to ban private ownership of dangerous exotic pets.” In truth Thompson released the wild animals and shot himself. Schreibvogel also said if he was faced with a similar situation he would act as Thompson did.

Sensing urgency with GW Exotic, the Humane Society of the United States has been conducting an undercover investigation into the animal park since last summer.

Here are some of their findings:


  • At least five tigers died at the facility during the investigation – two had been sick for months and a 6-week-old cub being raised inside the GW owner’s home sustained head injuries and had to be euthanized.
  • In August 2011, according to GW’s assistant park manager, three people suffered tiger bites at a fair, including one child whose bite became infected.
  • On Sept. 3, 2011, a tiger reportedly bit a young girl on her leg during the “play cage” portion of a tour.
  • On Sept. 11, 2011, a tiger cub scratched a young child while the child was posing for a picture.
  • On Sept. 17, 2011, a 20-week-old tiger named Dre knocked down and bit a small child. GW’s park manager told staff that the boy was bitten and scratched and that he would be bruised but that he (the manager) had “smoothed things over” with the mother and had her “sign the papers.” The next day, the same tiger was used for photo shoots at GW and photographers posed a small child bottle feeding the tiger.

“GW Exotics may have more dangerous exotic animals than any other roadside zoo in the nation—with approximately five times as many predators as the late Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “At this facility, children are allowed to play with tigers as if they are domestic kittens, rather than wild cats soon to mature into the some of the world’s most lethal carnivores.”

HSUS has filed complaints with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking for an official investigation.

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Oklahoma animal park let kids play with tigers

A Humane Society employee working undercover at an Oklahoma animal park discovered unsafe handling of deadly animals, including children being allowed to play with tigers, the society says.

The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City reports that the society filed complaints with the U.S. Agriculture Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies. The society claims employees at G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood were taught to hit and whip the animals.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, tells the newspaper the 54-acre park has one of the largest populations of “dangerous exotic animals” in the USA and kids “are allowed to play with tigers as if they are domestic kittens.”

report issued by the Humane Society claims the undercover employee witnessed or heard reports of “numerous dangerous public interactions” at the park, including at least six park visitors who were either bitten or scratched by tiger cubs.

The report claims that employees hit and whipped the animals and at least five tigers died last summer under questionable circumstances.

Other findings detailed in the report allege that a “federally protected” hawk was placed in a trash bin while still alive and that small children were placed inside enclosures with unrestrained wolves and wolf hybrids.

Owner Joe Schreibvogel tells TheOklahoman the society has fashioned an elaborate publicity stunt targeting his park, home to 170 big cats and hundreds of other non-native species.

Schreibvogel says the society wants changes in state and federal laws to do away with private ownership of exotic pets, such as lions, tigers and other potentially deadly animals.

“If they care so much about the animals, then why didn’t they call me when they saw this alleged mistreatment?” he asked. “The HSUS makes big money from donations, and right now their donation button on their website is probably going crazy.

“They have their agenda, and I think it’s plain to see here.”


Group calls Oklahoma animal park a ticking time bomb

Humane Society releases report


A well-known animal rights group calls an Oklahoma park a ticking time bomb.
















The U.S. Humane Society says the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood is putting the public at risk by allowing tigers to have contact with the public. The report by the group also says that the animals aren’t being treated well.

The report has park owner Joe Schreibvogel fighting mad.

“The next person who tries to make me an example out of this park by letting my animals out, hurting me or my staff, I will put a bullet between their eyes,” Schreibvogel said.

In particular, he is angry after an undercover video was released by the Humane Society that shows a worker hitting a tiger. The group’s investigation claims that park animals aren’t receiving proper care.

The society’s report also claims unsanitary living conditions and space for park animals and a lack of veterinary care. A representative with the U.S. Humane Society said they are talking to law enforcement about the investigation, but so far, nobody has said that anybody has done anything criminally wrong.

Schreibvogel said that nobody has ever been attacked by an animal at his park and that he believes he was set up.

Schreibvogel said he was told that law enforcement would be increasing patrols around his property.

The park has more than 800 exotic animals.


Exotic Animals Owned By Man Who Testified Against

Ohio Bill Accused Of Attacking Children


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A man who testified against the proposed exotic-animal bill was accused Tuesday of running a wild-animals park where children were injured and animals were abused.

Joe Schreibvogel runs the GW Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla., according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Schreibvogel, who goes by Joe Exotic, also serves as the head of the U.S. Zoological Association, which has been vocally against the state’s proposed exotic-animal ban.

GW Exotic Animal Park is licensed by the federal government, because it is open to the public and charges admission. The owner said that the park is one of the largest “refuges” for animals in the world.

GW Exotic Animal Park has about 200 tigers and 1,200 bears, chimpanzees and other exotic animals. It has a petting zoo, a traveling zoo, and breeds tiger and bear cubs.

Wayne Pacelle, president and chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States, said that his organization sent an undercover agent to the park to work as an employee.

The undercover employee documented alleged abuse and children being attacked by the exotic animals.

“Any person with any wit of common sense knows that large predatory animals are going to lash out at people,” Pacelle said. “That’s why sensible organizations say you have to keep dangerous wild animals separate.”

Pacelle called the Oklahoma park a “ticking time bomb” and said that it could be 10 times worse than the October Zanesville incident, in which 50 animals were released into the community before the owner, Terry Thompson, shot and killed himself.

In an interview with CBS News, Schreibvogel said that if anyone tried to remove his animals, it will result in a “small Waco.” He referred to the 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas,
where several people were shot to death and 75 others died in a fire after federal agents tried to search the property, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“It’s a ticking time bomb if someone thinks they’re going to walk in here and take my animals away, Schreibvogel said. “It’s a powerful statement, because I’ve poured my entire life into what I do, to care
for animals. And nobody is going to take my rights away.”

In the Humane Society video, the undercover investigator said Schreibvogel told him that if his animals were about to be seized, he would shoot himself in the head.

Terry W. Thompson shot and killed himself on Oct. 18, 2011, after he freed his personal menagerie of bears, lions, tigers and primates near Zanesville. In all, 48 animals had to be shot by law-enforcement officers to protect the public, 10TV News reported

That spurred the proposed Ohio law, which would end purchase and new ownership of restricted exotic animals after Jan. 1, 2014. Current owners could keep their animals, but would most likely have to register with the state by the end of the year.

Ohio Senate Bill 310, could be approved by an Ohio House committee Wednesday, with a vote planned by the full House on Thursday.

Schreibvogel traveled to Ohio twice in recent weeks to testify against the bill at legislative hearings.

Watch 10TV News and refresh for continuing coverage.
Previous Stories:

October 18, 2011: Schools Close After Animals Escape Muskingum Co. Exotic Animal Farm

Oklahoma Exotic Animal Park Under Investigation For Abuse, Neglect


The GW Exotic Park in Wynnewood is under investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture for possible abuse and neglect. The owner however, says the feds will remove his big cats, monkeys and birds, over his dead body.

To prove misconduct the humane society went undercover. They captured video of a tiger snarling at a young boy. Other images show Joe Schreibvogel, the park’s owner hitting a cub then saying, “If he don’t want to walk, smack him in the a** and make him walk.”

The owner calls the 54 acres in Wynnewood a refuge for some 800 exotic animals. The director of the United States Humane Society said someone is bound to get hurt.

“Any person with any whit of common sense knows that large predatory animals are going to lash out at people. Joe Schreibvogel has a history, well known before any HSUS investigator walked into that facility, of allowing private citizens, patrons, tourists to interact with his animals,” said Wayne Pacelle.

Pacelle calls the exotic park a ticking time bomb, saying if it remains open and unregulated someone will undoubtedly be severely injured or killed. Oddly enough Schreibvogel agrees.

“It is a ticking time bomb if someone thinks they’re going to walk in here and take my animals away. It’s going to be a small Waco. I have poured my entire life into what I do, to care for animals. Nobody is going to walk in here and freely shut me down and take my rights away from me as long as I am not breaking the law,” Schreibvogel said.

Schreibvogel also breeds tiger cubs and cross breeds exotics cats, such and lions and tigers or “ligers” and charges zoos up to $5,000 for the cubs. He is currently under investigation by the USDA for the death of 23 baby tiger cubs in 2009 and 2010.


See Video:





Last month the president of the United States Zoological Association, Joe Schreibvogel, spoke out on the October exotic animal release in Muskingum County saying he didn’t believe Terry Thompson killed himself, he thought Thompson was murdered as part of a conspiracy to ban exotic animal ownership.

Schreibvogel has also traveled to the state to lobby against Ohio’s pending exotic animal legislation.

On Wednesday the Humane Society of the United States released the results of an undercover investigation done at GW Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, where Schreibvogel is the president.

The Humane Society says it conducted the investigation in the Fall and Winter of 2011, by having an investigator pose as an employee at the animal park. In the videos released Wednesday employees of GW can be seen punching and whipping animals. The Humane Society says during the investigation five tigers died at the facility- including a 6-year-old tiger named Hobbes that died without receiving veterinary care and a 6-week-old cub that had to be euthanized after receiving a head injury at the park owner’s home.

The undercover video also shows a tiger cub knock a child down and bite him. According to the Humane Society, the USDA’s current regulations say the public should only have contact with cubs from 8 to 12 weeks old, but the tiger cub used was 20-weeks-old.

The HSUS says it has filed complaints with multiple federal, state and local organizations over the conditions at the park.


Oklahoma park accused of letting kids play with tigers


OKLAHOMA CITY | Fri May 18, 2012 5:54am EDT

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – The Humane Society of the United States is accusing an Oklahoma exotic animal park of allowing children to handle and pose for photographs with juvenile tigers in what they called “a petting zoo for carnivores.”

Joe Schreibvogel, owner of the G.W. Exotic Animal Park, 65 miles (100 km) south of Oklahoma City, denies the allegations, and he said on Thursday that the humane society simply wants to bankrupt him.

Wayne Pacelle, head of the animal rights organization, contends that allowing visitors to handle the unpredictable felines placed the visitors at risk.

The Humane Society sent an undercover operative to work at the park last year to videotape what he saw, including children mingling with exotic cats that are too old to be safe playmates. The investigator witnessed or heard about six incidents in which tiger cubs bit or scratched park visitors, Pacelle said.

Schreibvogel said he plans to file animal cruelty charges against the humane society’s undercover operative for failing to correct the alleged deficiencies in animal care described in his report, including an allegation that a bear had no water on a hot day last year.

“That was what he was trained and paid to do,” Schreibvogel said. “We are on our way to the sheriff’s office as soon as I hang this phone up.”

Pacelle said he fears a disaster similar to one in Zanesville, Ohio, last year, when the owner of a private collection of 56 tigers, bears and other wild animals freed them from their cages and then shot himself to death. Authorities killed 49 of the beasts as they ran wild through the area.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman David Sacks said an investigation is being conducted into the deaths of 23 tiger cubs at the Oklahoma park in 2009 and 2010.

This is the fourth time the agency has investigated the park and its owner for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which protects warm-blooded animals that are displayed to the public for compensation, Sacks said.

In a 2006 agreed decision, Schreibvogel was fined $25,000 and had his exhibitor’s license suspended for two weeks for deficiencies at his park.

(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan, Tim Gaynor and Mohammad Zargham)


Okla. animal park accused of unsafe handling

From The Associated Press

WYNNEWOOD — An Oklahoma exotic animal park is accused of a series of violations after a Humane Society employee worked undercover at the business for three months.

The organization lodged state and federal complaints Wednesday against G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood. The owner of the park denies the allegations.

The Humane Society of the United States alleges that the park engaged in unsafe handling of wild animals, had improper breeding practices and committed other violations.

The Humane Society claims children at the park are allowed to play with tigers and that youngsters were placed in enclosures with unrestrained wolves. The group also claims workers weren’t properly trained in handling wild predators.

Park owner Joe Schreibvogel says the Humane Society is engaging in a publicity stunt.