Please cancel the white tiger exploiter from duping the public at your festival.

Avatar BCR | May 28, 2009 38 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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Please cancel the white tiger exploiter from duping the public at your festival.  I have known this man for many years.  He knows that what he tells the public is not true and doesn’t care.  There is no legitimate reason to breed white tigers and no good reason to cart them around for people to gawk at. 

Subject: Blue Bonnet Fest – Does it present community danger?

Since time is of the essence, I am writing to all of you in mass to alert you of the danger the community may be facing as you host the “Royal White Tiger Discovery Exhibit” at your 2009 Blue Bonnet Fest.  Though you may have already signed a contract with this exhibitor, I beg you to think of your children’s safety, as well as that of the community, and cancel this exhibition.  Otherwise, I’m afraid you may be opening yourself up to a situation fraught with liability.

I’m sure you’re unaware of the true background of this exhibitor, Marcus Cook, who is operating without a license while his case is under appeal with the USDA.  There have been many human accidents, injuries, and animal deaths attributable to Marcus Cook and violations of the Animal Welfare Act.  It is extremely rare for the USDA to remove an exhibitor’s license.  I have listed only a few of the most recent incidents and news coverage below. Marcus Cook has been sued by the Texas attorney general, and he was ordered to stop operating as a nonprofit. The Texas attorney general has called Cook’s business practices “deceptive.”  He has even been fined $100,000 for his abusive practices, which is a huge amount in animal litigation.

Last year, a similar festival was planned in Neewollah when they also hosted Marcus Cook’s exhibition.  Haley Hilderbrand was a high school student killed during a photo op with a tiger in Kansas.  National legislation is being sponsored in her name to end exhibition and interaction with big cats such as Marcus Cook provides.  The Neewollah festival created a national uproar when Mr. Hilderbrand, and so many others, appealed to the festival organizers not to allow Cook’s exhibition – considering his litigious and dangerous background.

Please, I beg you to consider canceling Cook’s exhibition in order to avoid putting your citizens and students at risk, as well as the enormous amount of negative publicity it may receive.  I know it is tempting for the Lions organization to showcase big cats, but it can be done in such safer, more humane ways.

Thank you for your consideration,

Julie Hanan

Cc:      Edmund Kuempel, Texas House of Representatives

Wilson County News

LaVernia News

Lions Board

LaVernia School Board Members

Tiger exhibitor loses license

A Texas-based tiger exhibitor who visited Duluth two years ago has lost his license after a federal judge found him guilty of abusing his animals and violating the Animal Welfare Act.

A Texas-based tiger exhibitor who visited Duluth two years ago has lost his license after a federal judge found him guilty of abusing his animals and violating the Animal Welfare Act.

Marcus Cook, whose exhibit saw the birth and death of four white tiger cubs at the Mighty Thomas Carnival in Duluth in July 2007, has “repeatedly endangered the lives of their customers and employees, as well as the lives of their animals,” United States Department of Agriculture Administrative Law Judge Victor W. Palmer wrote.

The ruling, dated Sept. 24, 2008, was made public on the USDA’s Web site last week, said Lisa Wathne of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which regularly monitors the site.

“In addition to the astonishing lack of precaution taken by respondents to protect the public and the animals from harm, respondents also failed to feed their animals properly or provide them with veterinary and other requisite kinds of care,” states the order, which permanently revokes Cook’s Animal Welfare Act license.

The judge’s findings do not mention any abuse while Cook’s tigers were in Duluth.

Wathne, who is PETA’s captive exotic animal specialist, told the News Tribune the charges had been amended before the tiger cubs in Duluth died.

She said Cook has appealed the judge’s decision, meaning he can keep his license to exhibit until a decision on the appeal has been made.

Even if he loses his appeal, Wathne said, Cook still will be allowed to keep his animals as pets.

A USDA spokeswoman and Cook did not reply to requests for comment.

Big cat exhibitor continues operation after license revoked

08:24 AM CST on Wednesday, January 14, 2009


DALLAS – While a North Texas based big cat exhibitor has been accused of repeatedly putting the public’s safety at risk, he still remains in business.

After being stripped of his license, Marcus Cook, of ZooCats and Zoo Dynamics, appealed the decision and is free to continue his business, where he lets the public come in contact with baby tigers.

WFAA first investigated Cook six years ago. He has traveled the state and country for years allowing the public to interact with animals that pose a real danger. And for years, government officials have tried to shut him down, and now they may be about to succeed.

From Six Flags to the mall, the cat handler has taken his pet baby tigers to the public and allowed them to pet the animals for a price. However, even as babies, the tigers pose a threat.

During WFAA’s original investigation back in 2002, video showed one of the tigers bite one of Cook’s trained workers. The video had some concerned the same thing could happen to a child allowed to pet a baby tiger during one of Cook’s exhibitions.

Experts WFAA talked to raised concerns about Cook’s practices and the public’s safety. They were concerns that Cook quickly dismissed.

“Well, it depends on who you ask about public safety,” he said. “It’s totally within the guidelines of the health and humane treatment and the animal care policies and procedures of the United States Department of Agriculture.”

But after six years of observation and evidence gathering, the USDA has finally cracked the whip. It has ordered Cook to stop his exhibition, stripped him of his license and issued him a $100,000 fine.

Administrative Law Judge Victor Palmer ruled that “Marcus Cook has a history of deceiving the public, USDA and other law enforcement agencies.”

Palmer said the operation has “repeatedly endangered the lives of their customers and employees.”

“In addition to the astonishing lack of precaution taken by the respondents to protect the public, they also failed to feed their animals or properly provide them with veterinary care,” Palmer also stated.

Cook declined comment, but his attorney said his client continues to operate as he begins his appeal to a federal court if possible.

And while Cook may still be in business, his critics say they hope the public will see the USDA rulings as evidence that what Cook is doing is dangerous and wrong.

Controversial exhibitor – Marcus Cook – owner of seized tigers, lion

05:57 PM CDT on Monday, March 23, 2009


Investigators have revealed that two tigers and a lion, which were seized by the United States Department of Agriculture, belonged to Marcus Cook – who has been under the federal government’s scope for years.

Investigators said the large animals came from the North Texas wildlife exhibitor, who has been accused of repeatedly putting the public’s safety at risk.

Since 2002, News 8 has also followed Cook in a series of reports. One concern raised in the News 8 stories was that of a video that showed a young tiger biting a trainer. Cook has leased his exotic cats to zoos and theme parks. At one point, he allowed the public to pet the animals as part of the exhibit.

Now, he faces allegations of abusing several of his large cats.

The tigers and lion have found sanctuary at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie. Rescuers said the large cats are recovering from one of the worst cases of abuse volunteers have seen.

In the case of the lion, the large cat had chewed of part of his own tail out of stress or boredom, said Vicky Keahey, the owner of the wildlife center.

Over the weekend, the USDA seized the large cats that agents said suffered from a lack of veterinary care and food.

In court documents, Cook has been accused of housing tigers and lions in dangerous and filthy cages. In one case, lions were reportedly forced to live in standing water for days. In another, documents said a tiger escaped and injured a worker.

“They look pretty, pretty neglected to me,” Keahey said. “You just wonder how people can let them get like that.”

News 8 does not yet know if Cook will face animal cruelty charges. In repeated attempts by News 8 to get answers, the USDA made no comment on where the case stands.

Federal agents have tried to revoke Cook’s business license, but Cook has appealed, which allows him to stay in business.

MORE: Reports on Marcus Cook

Starved tigers, lion taken to Wylie wildlife center

11:23 PM CDT on Sunday, March 22, 2009


Sunday morning, federal agents rescued two tigers and a lion. The animals were reported to be in extremely poor health, neglected and starved. Rescuers said they believe the tigers and lion may have not been properly fed in weeks.

All three animals were taken to the In-Sync Exotic Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie.

“The fact that he’s not messing with the bone, that tells you right there something’s wrong with him,” said Vicky Keahey, with In-Sync, of one of the tigers.

The tiger’s teeth have been completely ground down. The other tiger is underweight and bald from the abuse.

Volunteers said “Kanye,” the lion, was so stressed or bored that he chewed his own tail, leaving the tip an open wound.

“It’s just awful, awful,” Keahey said of their condition.

Keahey said she rarely sees such neglect.

“I’ll probably cry myself to sleep tonight,” she said. “It’s hard … You just wonder how people can let them get like that.”

Keahey said the large animals were likely kept as pets.

The US Department of Agriculture trucked in the animals Sunday afternoon, but refused to talk with News 8.

The sudden addition is a strain for the Wylie center, which is already reeling from slumping donations.

Now, the center needs tens of thousands of dollars to build adequate cages for the animals and care for them.

“It’s going to put a much bigger strain on us,” Keahey said. “We’ve got three more mouths to feed. We’ve got vet bills already piling up.”

USDA Revokes Texas Animal Exhibitor’s License

5:41 AM Wed, Jan 14, 2009 | Permalink
Stacy Fox

Based on a decision and order handed down by a federal administrative law judge, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revoked the exhibitor’s license of notorious Kaufman-based big cat exhibitor Marcus Cook, who does business as Zoo Dynamics and Zoo Cats.

The action follows a USDA complaint against Cook in 2003 that was later amended in 2007. The decision and order states, “Respondents have repeatedly endangered the lives of their customers and employees as well as the lives of their animals. Marcus Cook has a history of deceiving the public, [the USDA], and other law enforcement agencies.”

Cook was found guilty of numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including using electric prods to “control” a tiger during a photo session; numerous counts of handling and exhibiting tigers “in a manner that caused them trauma and behavioral stress with excessive risk of harm to the tigers and the public”; and improper feeding of young tigers, whose appearance indicated that they were suffering from metabolic bone disease caused by a poor diet. Cook was also found guilty of failure to provide veterinary care to tiger cubs, to a tiger with excessive hair loss and weight loss, and to tigers and a lion with protruding hip bones, dull coats, and low energy.

PETA has filed multiple complaints with the USDA over Cook’s long and abysmal record of animal abuse and public endangerment. In July 2007, PETA called on the USDA to revoke Cook’s license after the deaths of four 2-day-old tiger cubs he was exhibiting at a Minnesota fair.

“The suffering and deaths of big cats that Cook caused can never be undone, but by revoking his license, the USDA has a put a crimp in his decades-long reign of terror over these animals,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “Cook’s case only confirms that exotic-animal exhibitors will stop at nothing to make a buck.”

From: []
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 10:07 PM
Subject: Tiger Exhibit

Dear Ms. Crow, Mr. Gettler

        After receiving an e-mail and video on the Tiger exhibit at Neewollah this year, and especially after reading Mr Gettler’s response to the concerns of Mr. & Mrs. Good and Mr Hilderbrand, I felt the need to write. I am a licensed USDA exhibitor in the State of Kansas. I also am a licensed Raptor Rehabilitator with both the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. I have over 8 years experience working with and exhibiting big cats including Tigers. I have been involved with raising over 30 Tiger, Lion and Leopard cubs, so I feel I have an educated opinion on this matter.

        A responsible exhibitor of these animals can get their environmental message across to the general public without taking advantage of the awestruck man, women or child who otherwise would not get close to these type of animals by having contact either for pictures, or petting or having a child putting tongs through a cage for the animal to try to get the meat off the tongs through the cage wire.

        After the tragic accident of Haley Hilderbrand not far from Independence, I am sure her death is still fresh in the minds of not only her parents but also friends and relatives. To let the Public have this kind of contact with a Tiger in a cage, is not only uncaring but irresponsible. After Haley’s death there were new laws put in by the State of Kansas that said very clearly there shall be no contact of any kind between these animals and the public. What was ” Neewallah’s” Directors thinking? It does not matter if you are licensed and or insured. Just about anyone can get a USDA Licensed and if you have the money, you can get insured.

        I can assure you from experience, that you can have this type of exhibit, and everything will go just fine for a thousand times. Then on number one thousand and one, there is an accident, sometimes with deadly consequences. Trust me, I learned from my own mistakes. So it isn’t a matter if they are licensed and insured, but what and how they are exhibiting.

        Neewollah has a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to make sure that the citizens are provided with a safe environment during your celebration. You have always done this until this year. This was not only unsafe, but was in violation of the law. I hope that in future events if you decide to have an exhibit like this, you do a thorough background not only on the exhibitor but the laws that governs them.


Ken Lockwood
Program Director
Eagle Valley Raptor Center
927 N. 343rd St. W.
Cheney, Kansas 67025
(316) 540-0003 Office

(316) 540-0003 Fax
(316) 393-0710 Mobile

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