COLLINS, MS (WDAM) – About twenty officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks took a search warrant to the Collins Zoo Wednesday morning.
The search and inspection follows and undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society claimed to find some malnourished animals and dirty conditions.
“We basically came here for an inspection, but we had complaints and information and beliefs that some other animals were here,” said Col. Steve Adcock of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
Officers spent about three hours inside the zoo, measuring cages and examining the conditions of the zoo and the animals.
“We are concerned with some of the living conditions and basically the caging requirements and things like that,” said Adcock.
They seized a possum and some turtles because of species limitations. The zoo owners were given 22 citations, 19 of which were issued because of lack of permits for “inherently violent animals.”
“They are going to be given a reasonable amount of time to comply with the regulation and once that time is up we will have to look at it then and if it’s not complied with we will be back,” said Adcock.
The zoo’s attorney, Brian Neely, said the Wednesday search was out of retaliation from the owners suing the wildlife department. He said the owners are in compliance
“They know that what they did is outside of the law they know this and they are going to have to answer for it,” said Neely. “This has been going on for five or six years and they keep doing this despite the court orders and the law applies to everybody and that includes wildlife officers as well.”
WDAM spoke with the owners, but they said they are not able to comment on camera about the search warrant. They have been given 30 days to comply.
Check USDA inspections online here: http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/Detail.jspx
Read the Humane Society’s Report http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2010/03/collins_zoo_investigation_030510.html