Our goal in supporting passage of the Better Collaboration, Accountability, and Regulatory Enforcement (CARE) for Animals Act is to strengthen multi-agency collaboration in enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Recent footage from an investigation at a Long Island, New York captive wildlife petting zoo offers the latest evidence that such a law is urgently needed. The investigation, released this week by the Humane Society of the United States, focused on Sloth Encounters, a roadside zoo in Hauppauge, New York that sells customers opportunities to engage in dangerous and harmful interactions with sloths and other wild animals.

The owner of Sloth Encounters has racked up a slew of federal and local violations. Between 2010 and 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the facility’s owner for 28 Animal Welfare Act violations, some involving serious or adverse effects on animals’ health or well-being. In 2013, the USDA suspended the operator’s Animal Welfare Act license for six months for unsafe handling and mistreatment of young tigers.