Unaccredited zoo at Indiana mall on probation for failure to comply with Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2007

Contact:
Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382

Logansport, Ind. — Today, after learning that the Logansport Mall has ignored PETA’s warnings about G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park’s (GW) exotic-animal display, PETA fired off a letter to Logansport Mayor Michael E. Fincher and the City Council calling on the city to enact legislation that would prohibit such displays in the future. The exhibit is scheduled to appear at the mall this week. In its letter, PETA points out that GW has a record of animal abuse and chronic failure to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and warns Mayor Fincher and the City Council about the potential dangers of allowing the public to come into contact with exotic animals.

During PETA’s investigation of GW last year, an undercover investigator witnessed that a lion was not provided with pain relief following the amputation of the stump of her leg after it was torn off by tigers, that a wounded horse suffered for days with an untreated broken leg before dying and being fed to big cats, that tigers were hit with a rifle butt, and that a goat had an untreated head wound. PETA points out that GW has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the minimum standards of care set forth in the AWA. In January 2006, GW was put on probation for 18 months and paid a $25,000 fine to settle USDA charges that included dangerous animal-handling practices, filthy transport conditions, failure to provide drinking water, insufficient staffing, and many filthy, wet, unsafe, and dilapidated enclosures.

Close encounters with wild animals also put people at serious risk. In March, two chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure at GW’s animal park in Wynnewood, Okla., and reportedly ran loose for nearly an hour before being recaptured. In January, a mall patron was bitten by a young African lion who was exhibited by GW at the Sunset Mall in San Angelo, Texas.

“Animals who are relegated to prison-like cages in backyard breeding facilities are ticking time bombs,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “For the welfare of animals and the safety of the public, it’s time to ban all exotic-animal displays and send the likes of GW packing.”

PETA’s letter to Mayor Fincher and the City Council—as well as broadcast-quality video footage of PETA’s investigation—are available upon request.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=9820

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