Archive for the ‘Zanesville OH’ Tag

Senate Bill Introduced for Big Cats & Public Safety Protection Act!   2 comments

Please reacaptived this press release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and take action at the two links below:

Tell Congress to protect people and big cats! HR 1998

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/tell-congress-protect-people-and-big-cats

Tell the Senate to protect people and big cats! S 1381

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/tell-congress-protect-people-and-big-cats-senate

IFAW Gains Senate Support for the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) today introduced (S.1381) the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. Initiated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and supported by a coalition of animal welfare groups, the bill aims at banning private possession and breeding of tigers, lions, and other captive big cats in the United States. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1998) was introduced earlier this year by U.S. Representatives Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

Current state laws addressing keeping big cats as pets widely fluctuate, with some states banning the practice while exempting a host of USDA exhibitors, and others with partial to no restrictions at all. The bill would establish a single, nationwide policy against the captive big cat pet and roadside zoo trade, while requiring current owners to register their big cats.

“The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act is a common-sense solution to a situation that has spiraled out of control,” Senator Blumenthal said. “Thousands of dangerous big cats are kept in deplorable conditions as backyard pets and in roadside zoos across the nation. This bill would alleviate the threat these animals pose to the general public.”

Congress first introduced the bill in light of the tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio and many others preceding it. In Zanesville, an exotic animal owner released 38 big cats and 18 other dangerous animals and then took his own life. To protect the surrounding community, first responders, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to handle a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly all of the animals.

IFAW Campaigns Officer Tracy Coppola notes, “Apart from the serious animal welfare aspects of this issue, we must not forget that it poses a massive burden on the first responders who often find themselves at the forefront of dealing with the dangers that captive big cats pose when kept in private hands across America.”

IFAW’s big cats database (www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates) shows that since 1997, incidents involving these captive animals have resulted in 22 human deaths, including five children. Meanwhile, over 200 people have been mauled or injured and scores of big cats have been killed

In addition to the human and animal fatalities, private ownership and breeding of big cats also undermines wildlife conservation because it can contribute to illegal international wildlife trade. There is currently no way to know how many U.S.-born big cats are disposed of or when their parts are illegally sold into the black market.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act now heads to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. IFAW is calling on citizens, including all first responders, to urge their Senators to co-sponsor the bill today.

More information is available at www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.

Follow IFAW on Facebook and Twitter

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/ifaw-gains-senate-support-big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-act

From ALDF: Tony, the Truck Stop Tiger 11.29.2012   Leave a comment

tony 01The Truck Stops Here…

From the stench of fuel to the drone of diesel engines and the isolation of his roadside prison, Tony, a 12 year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has endured more than a decade of misery at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has taken to the Louisiana courts to free Tony the Tiger from this truck stop nightmare. We won our lawsuit to prevent Tony’s “owner” Michael Sandlin from renewing his permit, but Sandlin appealed, and we are waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear the case. Sandlin subsequently filed his own lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on big cat ownership. ALDF sought to have the case dismissed and is waiting for the trial court to decide if the suit will move forward.

Sandlin has exploited tigers for over 20 years: buying, breeding, selling, and exhibiting tigers in poor conditions for his own profit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sandlin’s truck stop in the past for unsanitary feeding practices; mishandling tigers; and failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from inclement weather, clean drinking water, and knowledgeable employees to care for the tigers. In 2003, Sandlin’s animal welfare violations sparked public outcry, and three tigers were removed to a Tennessee sanctuary. The USDA allowed Sandlin to keep one tiger: Tony. He has been alone ever since.tony 02

Life at the truck stop is harmful to an animal with such sensitive hearing and acute sense of smell, says veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, who has cared for captive large cats for nearly two decades. After visiting Tony, she declared he is “in poor condition and needs intervention on his behalf.” In addition to exposure to noise and diesel fumes, Tony is taunted by truck stop visitors. His enclosure lacks adequate enrichment. He has no pool of water to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of this stressful confinement, Tony constantly paces in his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions.

His suffering demonstrates the problem of privately-owned tigers, whose numbers exceed that of wild tigers. There are less than 500 Siberian and only 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. In their natural habitat, tigers live alone, travel many miles to hunt, and avoid humans.

ALDF Sues to Have Tony Freed

In 2010, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. ALDF was joined by several Louisiana residents as co-plaintiffs, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In November 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell ordered LDWF to revoke Sandlin’s permit and prohibited the agency from issuing future permits. Sandlin appealed this decision to the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the First Circuit. We have briefed the case and are awaiting an oral argument date. Once the court hears our arguments, we will await a final decision. Meanwhile, Sandlin continues to exhibit Tony without a permit.

LDWF publicly stated it intends to enforce Louisiana law when litigation has concluded—although they could seize Tony now, at their discretion. State law bars Sandlin from owning and exhibiting a tiger because he did not legally own Tony when Louisiana’s big cat ban went into effect, and because Sandlin does not live on the premises where Tony is held captive. After all, who would want to live in a truck stop? Not Sandlin… and definitely not Tony.

ALDF Intervenes to Defend Big Cat Law

After losing his permit, Sandlin filed his own lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the LDWF, and Iberville Parish to overturn the state ban on private possession of big cats. This suit flies in the face of national sentiment, public safety, and animal welfare concerns. After the massacre of 48 exotic animals in Ohio in 2011, state and federal bills (like HR 4122) are being considered to prohibit ownership of big cats. Although ALDF was not named as a defendant in Sandlin’s suit, we successfully petitioned the court to allow us to intervene in the case to support Louisiana’s right to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony. LDWF and ALDF each filed exceptions to Sandlin’s case, seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, and a decision is expected soon.

Next Steps: We Wait While Tony Paces

The world waits with bated breath for the results of ALDF’s suit and of Sandlin’s appeal. Meanwhile Tony remains trapped at the truck stop. ALDF’s legal battle for Tony has drawn support from high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten and has galvanized activists around the world. The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. is providing pro bono assistance.

We are currently waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear our case. We are also waiting for the trial court to decide if Sandlin’s suit will move forward. Tony’s fate is tied up in the courts, but ALDF is keeping the pressure on.

We will post updates on Tony’s case as they become available.

NOTE: Article courtesy of  Animal Legal Defense Fund. You can leave a comment of thanks to ALDF and support for Tony at the end of this article here: http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233 on ALDF’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalLegalDefenseFund and retweet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldf/status/274297585769013248

Let’s continue our positive dedicated advocacy on behalf of Tony. Thank you.

ALDF: Strengthen Federal Law to Protect Big Cats   Leave a comment

Click the tiger’s picture to help big cats like Tony!

Please take action for big cats via this alert from The Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Via ALDF:

Many big cats such as Tony the truck stop tiger languish in deplorable conditions with no hope of freedom. Join us in urging Congressional representatives to support a new law to protect big cats from a similar fate.

Protect big cats and public safety!

In October 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Zanesville, Ohio responded to calls about a loose African lion and bear sighted by neighbors of an exotic animal “farm.” Officers soon discovered that the farm’s owner, Terry Thompson, had intentionally released over 50 exotic animals from his farm and then committed suicide. In the name of public safety, the deputies tracked down and shot the released animals. At the conclusion of the massacre, the pile of carcasses included 18 tigers, 17 African lions, and three mountain lions, as well as bears, wolves, and a baboon. Thompson had previous convictions for cruelty to animals and possession of illegal firearms.

This tragedy highlights the critical need for laws to prohibit possession of wild and exotic animals as “pets.” Among the problems caused by the wild animal trade:

  • In the U.S., an estimated 10,000 – 20,000 big cats are currently in private hands, causing significant public safety concerns by endangering neighbors — including children and pets — as well as officers who act as first responders.
  • The animals are frequently victims of neglect, living in deplorable conditions. Additionally, some captors might use the animals for illegal international trade in their parts.
  • Taxpayers and local agencies bear a high financial burden when dangerous animals escape or when they are seized due to cruelty and neglect.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122) would help stem the exotic “pet” trade by strengthening provisions in federal law by prohibiting future breeding, possessing, or owning of lions, tigers, and other big cats. The bill also would require people who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This bill amends the Lacey Act, which already provides exemptions for government agencies and wildlife sanctuaries. H.R. 4122 adds an exemption for accredited zoos, too.

Take Action!

Urge your Congressional representative to support the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act to protect people and animals by completing the information to the right! H.R. 4122 has bipartisan support, but it is languishing in a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Please take action today!

Visit: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10989

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

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