ISLIP, New York—Today the Humane Society of the United States learned that the Town of Islip has asked the Supreme Court of the State of New York to find Sloth Encounters owner, Larry Wallach, in criminal contempt of court for continuing to exhibit sloths and other wild animals in violation of local law. The town has asked the court to allow them to seize the animals, require him to surrender profits from the illegal exhibition, and assess fines, imprison, or detain him if he continues to violate the law. 

This comes less than one month after the Humane Society of the United States released the findings of a shocking undercover investigation at Wallach’s Sloth Encounters in Hauppauge which the organization shared with officials from the Town of Islip.   

The HSUS investigation showed disturbing footage of staff hitting sloths, stressed sloths kept in crowded conditions, sloths fighting with one another and a wounded sloth struggling when Wallach roughly grabbed his head and neck (more here).  The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund reported the findings of this investigation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and called on the agency to terminate Wallach’s Animal Welfare Act license and investigate Sloth Encounters for alleged violations of the law.  

Following today’s breaking news, Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “The Town of Islip has taken concrete actions to protect sloths and other wild animals held captive at Larry Wallach’s Sloth Encounters from further abuse. Our undercover investigation at this horrific operation revealed one of the worst cases of sloth abuse we’ve seen. We respectfully urge the court to swiftly ensure that these animals are finally out of the hands of their abuser. Wallach should never be allowed near another animal again.”  

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