Archive for the ‘H.R.4122’ Tag

HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Dead Tigers, Safety Threats at Oklahoma’s GW Exotic Animal Park   Leave a comment

Note: This “park” was said to be the intended home for Tony if his owner, Michael Sandlin, is forced to give him up. Read more: http://theadvocate.com/news/1608646-123/oklahoma-park-probed-in-tiger.html

HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Dead Tigers, Safety Threats at Oklahoma’s GW Exotic Animal Park

Park may have more dangerous predators than any other roadside zoo in the nation

May 16, 2012 – via The Humane Society of the United States


The Humane Society of the United States has released the results of an undercover investigation into an Oklahoma exotic animal park, where an investigator recorded tiger deaths, unwarranted breeding and dangerous incidents involving children and adults. HSUS undercover video footage taken at GW Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. in the summer and fall of 2011 shows potentially illegal actions that imperil both animals and humans.

GW Exotic Animal Park houses approximately 200 tigers and other dangerous exotic animals and is acting as a petting zoo and traveling zoo that breeds tiger and bear cubs and allows the public to handle exotic animals for a fee, both at its own facility and at shopping malls and other venues around the country. The HSUS filed a series of complaints with state and federal authorities regarding potential legal violations, and called for strengthening certain areas of the law dealing with dangerous exotic wildlife.

The results of the investigation were first reported this morning by CBS News. The HSUS says it’s a dangerous situation for tigers and people, a hazard highlighted by the mass exotic animal tragedy the nation learned of last fall in Zanesville, Ohio. The president of GW Exotic Animal Park, Joe Schreibvogel, traveled to Ohio in April 2012 to lobby against Senate Bill 310, the bill introduced by state lawmakers to restrict the private ownership of dangerous captive wildlife in response to the Zanesville incident. At that time, he claimed that Terry Thompson was murdered by animal advocates to advance an agenda to ban private ownership of dangerous exotic pets.

At least five tigers died at the facility during the investigation – two of them had been sick for months and may have been shot by GW employees. A 6-year-old tiger named Hobbes died without receiving veterinary care and a 6-week-old cub being raised inside the GW owner’s house somehow sustained head injuries and had to be euthanized. And the death of 23 infant tigers at the facility over a 13-month period between 2009 and 2010 prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open an investigation into GW Exotics for the unexplained death rate at the park.

“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.”

The HSUS investigator witnessed or heard reports about numerous dangerous public interactions at GW—some with a nearly full-grown tiger—including at least six cases where visitors were bitten or scratched.

  • 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.

The HSUS has filed complaints with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service seeking an investigation into potential violations of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, and Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act; with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act; and with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for potential violations of GW’s state commercial wildlife license. HSUS has also reached out to local law enforcement concerning the results of its investigation.

The HSUS is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt regulations banning public contact with dangerous wild animals no matter the age of the animals. Current regulations generally allow public contact with tiger cubs between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks, and encourage the reckless over breeding of tiger cubs and surplus of captive adult tigers. The HSUS is also urging Congress to pass H.R. 4122, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, introduced by Reps. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., to prohibit the private ownership and breeding of tigers and other dangerous big cats.

The investigative report is available here. B-roll video footage of the investigation is available for media download here and here.

Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

Read Wayne’s blog on the Oklahoma investigation

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2012/05/ok_exotics_investigation.html

From IFAW: The Sad Tale of Tony the “Truck Stop Tiger”   Leave a comment

Tony the truck stop tiger still waits in his cage
Photo credit:
Animal Legal Defense Fund

By Jeffrey Flocken

Posted Mon, 05/14/2012

Here’s a report from Gina Miller, IFAW’s legal policy analyst, about a captive tiger in Louisiana:

Laws that govern the private ownership of big cats vary widely from one state to another but they do have one thing in common—they’re not enough to protect big cats in private hands. Some 10,000 to 20,000 big cats are kept captive by private owners in the U.S., and they aren’t in zoos but in backyards, basements, garages, sheds and even truck stops.

Yes, you read that correctly: It is legal to keep a tiger at a truck stop.

Tony, a 10 year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has been kept every single day of his life at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Living at a truck stop is no life for a tiger; Tony is subjected to noise and diesel fumes from trucks and kept in a concrete cage with no adequate enrichment or escape from the elements, resulting in constant stress. Ten years of living at Tiger Truck Stop have taken a toll on Tony’s health, according to experts.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham granted a permit allowing for Tony the tiger to be exhibited at the truck stop in Louisiana. After the state permit was issued, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit arguing that LDWF violated state legislation prohibiting persons from keeping a tiger as a pet or exhibiting a tiger within the state, but those that owned big cats legally before this law was passed were able to keep their animals.

Here’s the issue: Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, didn’t legally own him because his town’s ordinance made it illegal to keep a tiger on his premises.

The good news is that Tony’s permit expired in December of 2011 and hasn’t been renewed. The bad news is Tony is still being kept at the truck stop in violation of Louisiana law because the judge ruled that the Department has discretion whether or not to enforce Louisiana’s law on big cats. This “discretion” is allowing Tony the tiger to languish at a truck stop.

But Tony will have another day in court. Tony’s owner sued the State of Louisiana claiming that the law against private ownership of big cats was unconstitutional. Advocates for Tony’s health and safety will have the chance to support Louisiana’s authority to protect the public and the welfare of animals like Tony.

There is no reason that Tony or big cats like him should be left to suffer at truck stops due to squabbles over state laws and poor enforcement. As evidenced by Tony’s plight and the tragic Zanesville massacre, a nationwide solution like the Federal Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, H.R. 4122, is needed. Please urge your U.S. Representative to support the passage H.R. 4122 and protect tigers like Tony!

http://www.ifaw.org/us/news/sad-tale-tony-%E2%80%9Ctruck-stop-tiger%E2%80%9D

More from The Animal Legal Defense Fund on the May 7, 2012 Hearing   Leave a comment

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

May 7, 2012: In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, District Judge Janice Clark agreed that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to the lawsuit filed by Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). ALDF and the other interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. Thanks to today’s ruling, ALDF will now have a right to participate in all steps of the litigation as it moves forward.

In their case, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s intervention in Sandlin’s case will support Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony through such legislative measures.

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=2023

 

Please continue to support Tony by signing and sharing his petitions:

  • Change.org Petition For Tony  – January 16, 2012  

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

  • Care2 Petition For Tony Is Still Open (Over 50,000 Signatures)

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/129/272/008/ 

Ask Your Congressperson to Support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act   Leave a comment

© Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources

Please ask your congressperson to support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act would prohibit private possession of big cats except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. 

Enter your zip code at this link: http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/bills/?bill=61054001  for a fast easy way to voice your support of this bill and ask your congressperson to co-sponsor it. Please share the link. Thank You.

WWF – Latest News – Taking Tigers Out of American Backyards
Mar 01, 2012

Did you know that there are more tigers in American backyards than there are in the wild around the world?

Estimated at perhaps 5,000 tigers, they are found in:

  • backyards
  • urban apartments
  • sideshows
  • truck stops
  • private breeding facilities

For the past four years, WWF and TRAFFIC have raised the alarm on the lack of captive tiger regulation. Thanks to the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” introduced by Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) on February 29, 2012, the U.S. is now taking a step in the right direction.

“We welcome this important legislation because as the Zanesville incident showed, it’s critical for America to clear out captive big cats from our backyards,” says WWF’s Leigh Henry. “This is a matter not only of public safety, but also of preventing captive tigers from being fed into the massive illegal tiger trade driven by a booming black market for tiger products.”

If the bill passes, it will:

  • Prohibit private possession of big cats like tigers and lions except at highly-qualified facilities, like accredited zoos and sanctuaries, where they can be properly cared for and restrained.
  • Require any persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the USDA in order to keep the cats they currently own.
  • Outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions.

Violators could face stiff penalties including confiscation of animals, fines as much as $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is working on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

Learn more
Watch a video to learn how captive tigers impact wild tigers
Is your toilet paper linked to tiger habitat destruction?

http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2012/WWFPresitem27118.html

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