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:
- An 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.