Tag Archives: Southwick”s Zoo

Southwick’s tiger and animal sanctuaries

By Rosalie Tirella

The story in the T & G re: Southwick’s getting a truck-load of raw meat for its big cats – and their photo of a tiger eating the “gift” – was depressing. It was a humiliating story/picture- everything that good people are against: Southwick’s and their pretend “animal sanctuary” label and the degradation of gorgeous wild animals who should be hunting and living and procreating in the wilds of Africa or Asia.

Let me tell you about Southwick’s Zoo: They have been shut down by the govt many a times, mostly for the poor housing they provide their wild animals. It used to be called (correctly) “Southwick’s Wild Animal Farm” – a much more honest name to describe exactly what it is: Wild animals that are born to roam hundreds of miles in a week crammed into fenced/penned-in areas.

About 12 years ago, I went down to Southwick’s to do some investigating. I found a chimp (some of the brightest animals on earth) sitting on a bale of hay in a “pretend” cricus car. I cried.

Then: a wasted (utterly skin and bones) lion lying on concrete in the middle of the place. A small fenced in area, like a playground was its “home.” I cried again.

I tried to get a story going – to no avail (which is one of the reasons I started InCity Times a few years later – so I could write about all the animals that I love so much!). But then one of the Boston TV stations received a complaint re: Southwicks, did an investigation and the place was shut down by officials. The govt demanded that the animals living areas (I won;t call them habitats) be more humane. Southwicks built better quarters (not by much) and in a savvy marketing move changed their name.

Cruel, cruel, money-grubbing Southwick’s!

Here is more information on places like Southwick’s that go parading as animal “sanctuaries” but are in fact hell holes for wild animals. Even the best zoos are mere theater – the animals “habitats” are painted/fake rocks, fake foliage a few real trees. It is all made to look like the animals’ natural habitat, when it all really smoke and mirrors set up for zoo visitors.

Why trap a beautiful thing to shove it away somewhere in a cage away from everything it loves? Everything that God intended it to be?

Please boycott Southwick’s this spring and summer! Families, take your kids to other places during vaca times! Here’s the PETA piece:
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When an animal ‘sanctuary’ isn’t

By Dan Paden

Acquiring an animal means making a lifetime commitment. But what if illness, economic hardship or some other unforeseen circumstance forces you to give up a cherished animal companion? Many well-meaning people unwittingly turn to pseudo-sanctuaries that promise loving care for their animals, but as a new PETA undercover investigation reveals, giving animals away to strangers—even those who make big promises on polished websites and national TV and have celebrity endorsements—is never an acceptable option.

Caboodle Ranch, Inc., was a self-proclaimed “cat rescue sanctuary” in Florida that claimed to give cats “everything they will ever need to live a happy healthy life.” PETA’s investigation found that the “ranch” was essentially a one-person “no-kill” operation that subjected some 500 cats to filth, crowding and chronic neglect.

Cats at Caboodle were denied veterinary care for widespread upper-respiratory infections and other ailments. Obviously ill cats with green and brown discharge draining from their eyes, noses and mouths were allowed to spread infection to other cats. During the course of PETA’s investigation, some cats died of seemingly treatable conditions.

Some cats, like Lilly, whose iris protruded through a ruptured cornea, were left to suffer month after month. PETA’s investigator offered to take Lilly to a veterinarian, but Caboodle’s founder refused, apparently scared that he might “get in trouble” if a cat in Lilly’s condition were seen by others. Lilly eventually died after months of neglect.

Cats are fastidiously clean animals, but at Caboodle they were forced to use filthy, fly-covered litterboxes. Maggots gathered in cats’ food bowls and covered medications and food kept in a refrigerator inside a dilapidated trailer teeming with cockroaches. Cats frequently escaped the ranch, putting the surrounding community’s animals at risk of disease. Prompted by PETA’s evidence, officials seized Caboodle’s animals, and its founder and operator faces cruelty-to-animals charges.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this case is that it is not an isolated incident. In 2011, a PETA investigation revealed often fatal neglect of disabled, elderly and ailing animals at Angel’s Gate, a self-proclaimed animal “hospice and rehabilitation center” in New York. Our investigator documented that animals were allowed to suffer, sometimes for weeks, without veterinary care. Paralyzed animals dragged themselves around until they developed bloody ulcers. Other animals developed urine scald after being left in diapers for days. Angel’s Gate’s founder was recently arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.

In another case, in South Carolina, some 300 cats were kept caged, most for 24 hours a day, in an unventilated storage facility crammed with stacks of crates and carriers. PETA’s investigator found that the operator of this hellhole, Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary, knowingly deprived suffering cats of veterinary care—including those plagued with seizures, diabetes and wounds infected down to the bone. When Sacred Vision’s owner was asked if sick animals could be taken to a veterinarian for help at no cost to her, she refused, instead attempting to doctor the suffering animals on her own. The cats in that case were seized by authorities, and the owner, who was in the midst of sending about 30 of her cats to Caboodle as authorities closed in on her, now faces cruelty charges.

Our animals count on us to do what’s best for them at all times. Unfortunately, there will always be purported “rescues” and “sanctuaries” that deceive people into giving them unwanted animals, who are often left to languish and die, terrified and alone. PETA’s files are full of letters from people grief-stricken over having left animals at these hellholes.

If you truly have no choice but to part with your animals because of circumstances beyond your control, try to enlist trusted friends and family to care for them temporarily until your situation improves. If no other suitable arrangement can be made, taking animals to a well-run open-admission shelter is the kindest option.

Whatever you do, never, under any circumstances, simply hand off unwanted or sick animals to a smooth-talking stranger and hope for the best. The animal companions you love so dearly will pay for it with their lives. And you will be left with a broken heart full of regret.

Dan Paden is a senior research associate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Roadside “zoos” and tourist traps that use animals – the pits!

By Jennifer O’Connor

If your family is planning a vacation in the waning weeks of summer, there is an easy way to save time and gas and avoid bringing home awful memories: Simply drive past decrepit roadside zoos and other cruel tourist traps that use animals. Vacationers with money to spend keep these archaic exhibits in business, and animals will continue to suffer and die as long as people heed the call of highway billboards and pull over.

I’ll never forget my own family’s summer trip through Tennessee. Growing restless in the back seat of the car, my sisters and I nagged our dad to stop and see the Three Bears Gift Shop in the Pigeon Forge tourist area. That stop became family lore about how our trip ended with three girls bawling their eyes out after seeing depressed, mouldy-looking bears in concrete pits being pelted with food. Decades later, Three Bears still exists, and another generation of bears is living in the same deprived conditions. Take my word for it: Don’t go.

Bears in the Cherokee area of North Carolina are in similarly abysmal conditions. Three roadside zoos—Cherokee Bear Zoo, Chief Saunooke Bear Park and Santa’s Land—display neurotic, hungry bears in desolate concrete pits or cramped cages in which they pace back and forth, walk in endless circles, cry, whimper and beg for tourists to toss them a morsel of food. Bears are intelligent, curious and energetic. They enjoy digging, constructing cozy nests, climbing and searching out berries and other treats. The bears in Cherokee’s zoos have nothing to do but walk a few steps or sleep on a concrete floor.

The otherwise glorious destination of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is marred by a place called T.I.G.E.R.S. This outfit rips baby animals away from their frantic mothers to be used as photo props. Do not be fooled by any claims of altruism—it’s all about the money. The operator of this roadside zoo also hauls animals around the country. Last year, an adult tiger escaped, and some years earlier, a lion mauled a model during a photo session.

If you’re thinking of heading to Six Flags in Vallejo, California, or Jackson, New Jersey, please cross these theme parks off your list. Elephants are forced to perform tricks and give rides to park visitors. Since 1995, eight elephants have died at the Six Flags Vallejo park, which still uses cruel bullhooks to “control” elephants. In one three-month period, 26 animals died at the New Jersey location.

Don’t let SeaWorld’s well-financed advertising department lull you into thinking that this is the right place for your family. Dolphins and orcas are confined to a life of swimming in endless circles in barren, concrete tanks. Nearly two dozen orcas have died in SeaWorld facilities in the last 25 years, but none died of old age. Dozens of bottlenose dolphins have also perished. If discount tickets are still enticing you, consider this: Do you want to take the chance that your child might experience the same horror as those who witnessed an orca batter a SeaWorld trainer to death last year?

When you hit the road this summer, please include compassion on your itinerary. Don’t pass a few hours at places where animals will continue to languish in misery long after you’re back home.

Jennifer O’Connor is a staff writer with the PETA Foundation.

Boycott Southwick’s Wild Animal Farm! In Defense of Animals urges feds to investigate Elephant Death at Southwick’s Zoo

(Southwick’s Zoo urged to publicly release Dondi the elephant’s veterinary records)

editor’s note: For years Southwick’s has been nothing but an exotic animal death camp PRETENDING to care for animals. 15 or 20 years ago, they made the news (they have made the news several times) for their shitty wild animal housing. I went down there and saw: a chimp in a fake circus train car sitting on a bale of hay! That was it! That was its home! Their lion? In a fenced in bit of concrete sitting in the middle of the dump – all ribs, all hip joints. No shade – no “habitat.”

A crime! A crime they had to pay for: they were ordered to build more suitable habitats for the poor animals that “live” tragic lives at the Southwick “zoo.” Do not kid yourself! There are no real vets/experts there. There is no one who is a true biologist/scientest caring for the animals. This place is strictly a money maker – no better than Barnum and Bailey’s.

Let’s work to free Dondi’s “vet” records. I bet they did little for that poor creature!

Boycott Southwick’s in Mendon, Massachusetts!

– Rosalie Tirella

now the article:

San Rafael, Calif. – In Defense of Animals (IDA) today filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging an investigation into the death of Dondi, an Asian elephant held at the Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts. Dondi died on Wednesday, after suffering an unidentified illness.

“Dondi’s unexpected death raises a red flag because at age 36 she should have been in the prime of life,” said Catherine Doyle, IDA Elephant Campaign director. “We are asking the USDA to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dondi’s death as a matter of public interest and public safety.”

In a separate letter sent to Southwick’s Zoo president Justine Brewer, IDA urged the zoo to publicly release Dondi’s veterinary records and necropsy reports, saying, “The public has a right to know the cause of Dondi’s death.”

Dondi was in direct contact with the public at the Southwick’s Zoo, where she gave rides during the summer months; she performed circus tricks and gave rides during the winter at various locations in Florida. Elephants can harbor diseases transmissible to humans, including tuberculosis, which can be difficult to detect. Release of the records would hopefully allay any public health concerns. Continue reading Boycott Southwick’s Wild Animal Farm! In Defense of Animals urges feds to investigate Elephant Death at Southwick’s Zoo