January 25, 2012
Tigers and Other Exotic Animals Seized from Mississippi Roadside Zoo
Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation leads to multi-agency rescue mission
The Humane Society of the United States joined with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, Carolina Tiger Rescue, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation and Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary to rescue 11 exotic animals from the Collins Zoo, an unaccredited roadside facility.
The rescue comes after HSUS conducted an in-depth undercover investigation and submitted legal complaints to the state documenting serious animal welfare issues as well as public safety concerns at the Collins Zoo. The MDWFP served a search and seizure warrant at the Collins, Miss., property that allowed them to seize three tigers, three cougars, two leopards, two wolf hybrids, and one Macaque monkey due to violations of state permit requirements.
The MDWFP asked The HSUS to coordinate the temporary placement of these animals at qualified sanctuaries until a judge determines the custody of the animals. The HSUS received permission from the MDWFP to transport these animals to several out-of-state sanctuaries. The HSUS will care for the three rescued tigers at its Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, operated in Texas by its affiliate The Fund for Animals, and the two wolf hybrids will also stay at Black Beauty Ranch until the animals’ custody is determined.
"The animals at the Collins Zoo have been forced to live in inhumane conditions for many years, and The Humane Society of the United States is relieved to finally be able to rescue these animals and help them begin new lives in appropriate sanctuaries," said Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The HSUS.
She continued, "The situation at the unaccredited Collins Zoo is a prime example of the animal cruelty and public safety concerns that stem from our country’s unregulated exotic animal industry. This should be a wake-up call to lawmakers and communities around the country to crack down on the casual ownership of dangerous wild animals."
In late 2009 The HSUS conducted an undercover investigation at Collins Zoo and then submitted legal complaints to the MDWFP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The investigation uncovered injured and malnourished animals and flimsy enclosures, including venomous snakes being held in unlocked enclosures accessible to the public. Since The HSUS's investigation, conditions at the Collins Zoo remained poor.
When responders entered the property they found the animals housed in small pens with little space and no enrichment for these animals. These animals were underweight and suffering from a variety of medical ailments.
Groups and Roles
• The HSUS: animal handling, transportation and placement assistance
• Carolina Tiger Rescue of Pittsboro, N.C.: sanctuary for one cougar and two leopards
• Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation of Kendalia, Texas: housing for two cougars
• Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary of Dilley, Texas: sanctuary for the Macaque monkey
High-quality video and photos of the rescue mission will be available by email request to the media contact below. Video of the undercover investigation and copies of HSUS's legal complaints are also available.
Media Contact: Jordan Crump: 240-654-2964, firstname.lastname@example.org