One roadside zoo you will want to avoid

On September 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a routine inspection at Animal Adventures, a private zoo in Okeechobee. The inspector found shocking violations of federal regulations:

  • USDA-APHISAn adult lion with a life threatening medical condition (pyometra) was not seen by a veterinarian. The lion’s condition deteriorated and she was euthanized by a gunshot to the head. The USDA cited Animal Adventures for inadequate veterinary care for failing to have the lion examined and her condition treated. The facility was also cited for using a firearm, when “other more acceptable methods are available.” Gunshot can be a humane method of euthanasia, but only if performed by well trained and experienced personnel with an appropriate firearm.
  • A female tiger cub was found injured on the morning of August 28. The veterinarian, via telephone, prescribed medications but the cub’s health deteriorated and she died later that day. Again, Animal Adventures was cited for inadequate veterinary care for failing to have the cub examined and treated by a veterinarian.
  • A solitary brown lemur was found housed inside a barn without being able to see or hear any other animal. “When first observed,” the USDA inspector wrote, “this animal was doing repetitive backflips which could be indicative of psychological distress.”
  • The USDA inspector also reported that a red fox was suffering from a serious eye condition that was not being treated, and that shelters for bobcats, tigers and bears were badly damaged and hazardous to the animals.

These are only the latest in a long list of animal deaths and other problems at Animal Adventures. In 2013, Animal Adventures agreed to pay a $4,107 fine to settle allegations that it violated the Animal Welfare Act.

The circus vet, help us change his mind!

The Cole Bros. Circus will perform in Port St. Lucie, November 5-8.

The City of Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County require circuses to have a veterinarian on duty. Local veterinarian Dr. Enrique Borrego is once again acting as the circus’ veterinarian. Please contact Dr. Borrego and politely urge him to reconsider acting as the circus vet. Without a veterinarian willing to help the circus meet the permit requirements, the circus could not perform in St. Lucie County. Contact:

Enrique Borrego, DVM
Animal General Hospital
501 SW Port St. Lucie Blvd.
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Phone: (772) 344-8835
Online comment form.
Post a comment on Facebook.

Ask Dr. Borrego if he approves of the treatment of elephants, tigers and other animals in traveling circuses? Urge him to visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the Cole Bros. Circus’ horrible history. Problems in recent years have included: failure to provide necessary veterinary care, cruel treatment of an elephant, inexperienced animal handlers, and violating the Endangered Species Act! Let Dr. Borrego know that you don’t support businesses that support cruel circuses.

*Please share with ARFF any responses that you receive.

Thousands of music lovers and millions of eggs

Florida egg farm

The recently-announced Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival promises three days and nights of music, including more than 80 acts performing at five stages. It will also be a great opportunity for animal advocates to educate large crowds about the suffering of chickens in Florida’s egg industry.

The festival (“Florida’s biggest-ever camping festival”) will be held in March 2016 at a property that happens to be a mile down the road from one of Florida’s largest egg farms. The farm, owned by Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer of shell eggs in the United States, confines hundreds of thousands of chickens in bare wire cages so small that they cannot even spread their wings. Click here for video from inside the farm.

For the most part, factory farms in Florida are in out-of-the-way locations. It’s not everyday that you have thousands of people driving by a factory farm. ARFF is exploring creative ways to spread a compassionate message to festivalgoers. Stay tuned!

Have you seen Miami Beach’s flock of sheep?


During an August 19 visit, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector counted 114 sheep inside the Pearlman Biomedical Research Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. (The two-story, nondescript building at the north end of the medical center complex can be seen from the Julia Tuttle Causeway.)

Sheep are used at Mount Sinai in studying asthma and other lung diseases. A 2012 study was typical of the research. A group of sheep were restrained in a “modified shopping cart,” with their heads immobilized. A tube was inserted into the nostril and a nebulizer used to deliver a toxin into the lungs.

Research using sheep has been going on at Mount Sinai Medical Center since at least 1982. In 2003 the Sun Sentinel published an article in which former employees told horrible stories of animal mistreatment, including sheep left unattended in shopping carts that sometimes fell over (leaving one sheep with broken legs), another sheep found dead with her neck caught in cage bars, and sheep killed by malfunctioning nebulizers.

Sheep are intelligent animals who experience fear, boredom and despair. We’re certain that sheep would rather be anywhere else than stuck inside a building in Miami Beach.

Photo: Farm Sanctuary

Good news for dogs in St. Lucie County

dog-chainLast week, the St. Lucie County Commission unanimously approved a strong anti-tethering ordinance, making it illegal to tie up a dog outdoors unless a guardian is outside along with the dog. Commissioners also adopted new standards to protect guard dogs.

Please thank the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners for their compassionate vote. Click here to send a note to commissioners.

Continuous chaining is bad for dogs. Dogs are very social animals who suffer from isolation. Chained dogs are much more likely to become aggressive. In addition, dogs confined on chains are at risk of becoming tangled and injured, are more likely to have skin problems and problems with parasites, and are often exposed to bad weather.

A growing number of cities and counties in Florida have enacted ordinances banning or restricting the cruel tethering/chaining of dogs, including Broward, Collier, Escambia, Hillsborough, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota and Seminole Counties.