Is Lakewood Zoo Going to be closed forever?!?

Is Lakewood zoo going to be closed forever?!? That just might come to pass!!!

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Lakewood Zoo, Casey Ludwig…Live in a Glass House…DON’T THROW STONES!!!

Here’s part of that report:

Here’s FACTS he can’t deny…lies beget lies but the truth will set you free!!! No matter what he says to people and in news reports, Ludwig can not change HIS history!!!

Here’s his USDA reports: No one is perfect all the time but this is totally ridiculous and way out there!!! Never have I viewed such horrible history with the USDA and no court cases ever filed…NEVER…Some bona-fide animal sanctuary/zoo…more like a SCAM-tuary/SCUM-tuary if you ask me…I believe this and is obviously TRUE!!! Something to the tune of 81 violations!!! Ignorant FOOL…BUT WAIT, there’s MORE history on Casey Ludwig:

The following indicates he had no permit in 2008 to have possession of these kind of animals…an offense that TODAY might mean SEIZURE!!!…so much for being a responsible owner…

Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA)

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Printable Version (PDF)

State of Wisconsin vs. Casey G. Ludwig

Oconto County Case Number 2008FO000885

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Filing Date Case Type Case Status
Ascending Date OrderDescending Date Order
10-15-2008 Non-Traffic Ordinance Violation Closed
Defendant Date of Birth Address
11-1963 P.O. Box 190, Lakewood, WI 54138
Branch Id DA Case Number


Count No. Statute Description Severity Disposition
1 169.04(1)(b) Possess Live Captive Wild Animal w/o Lic Forf. U Guilty Due to No Contest Plea

View history and details of Charge(s)/Sentence(s)

Defendant Owes the Court: $ 0.00

Responsible Official Prosecuting Agency Prosecuting Attorney Defense Attorney
Judge, Michael T Assistant District Attorney Mraz, Robert J


Defendant Name Date of Birth Sex Race 1
Ludwig, Casey G. 11-1963 Male Caucasian
Address Address Updated On
P.O. Box 190, Lakewood, WI 54138 01-21-2009
JUSTIS ID Finger Print ID


Citation R501023
Bond Amount Deposit Type Appearance Date and Time Mandatory
$ 173.25 None 11-12-2008 at 01:00 pm No
Name Date of Birth Sex
Ludwig, Casey G. 11-1963 Male
Address Address Updated On
P.O. Box 190, Lakewood, WI 54138 01-21-2009
Plate Number State Expiration VIN
Issuing Agency Officer Name Violation Date MPH Over
Dept. of Natural Resources Paul, Joe 08-29-2008
Plaintiff Agency Ordinance or Statute Statute Charge Description
State of Wisconsin Statute 169.085(1) Rehabilitate Wild Animals w/o License
Forf. U

Total Receivables

Court Assessments Adjustments 3 Paid to the Court Probation/Other Agency Amount 4 Balance Due to Court Due Date 5
$ 173.25 $ 0.00 $ 173.25 $ 0.00 $ 0.00
1 The designation listed in the Race field is subjective. It
is provided to the court by the agency that filed the case.
2 Non-Court activities do not require personal court
appearances. For questions regarding which court type
activities require court appearances, please contact the Clerk
of Circuit Court in the county where the case originated.
3 Includes collection agency fees; bankruptcy discharge of
debt; Department of Revenue collection fees; and forgiven
debts due to indigence, death, time served, or community
4 Some amounts assessed by the courts are collected by the
Department of Corrections or other agencies. This column is
rarely updated by the courts and may be less than the actual
amount owed.
5 For cases with multiple assessments, the due date
represents the assessment with the latest date.
6 Your payment may not be processed immediately.

That came from the Wisconsin Courts site (link below) but that is not all…not by any means…Ludwig has neglected to pay bills and taxes on his ‘other business’. There is a list of 42 cases against Lugwig including the above and even a traffic ticket [Traffic ticket -NBD right??? WRONG…speeding in a 15 MPH zone means that he could have endangered lives]…and astronomical judgements…If he’s begging for money…IF, HA, of course he is!!! He’s a SCAM-tuary…you now know why!!!

How long has he had that 501-c-3?!? Has his book-keeping records ever been reviewed…does he even keep books and records?!? Sure accustomed to paying heafty fines/interest from his judgements…AGAINST HIM!!!;jsessionid=A114C39AE9FFDA257C8524D73FCF777F.render6?cacheId=01D317D79DB1149D5A35291BBBD6EA4D&offset=0&sortColumn=0&sortDirection=DESC

Jeff Kozlowski of Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue is a convicted felon -BANK ROBBER (FACT)-working with children in Wisconsin (OMG!!!) There was an accident last year involving a volunteer and by his own admission because he is complacent with his animals…WTF?!? (Hopefully not when children are present!!!) He is responsible for Ludwig having some of those animals…He even gave him a tiger that has genetic defects from a group of cats he was rehoming with money he secured thru FCF Safety net. I believe Kozlowski helped him with other animals that were recently acquired…

Casey Ludwig has a long list of USDA offenses…plus, poor business practices…just view the history!!!

Now on to recent news reports…You just can’t make this stuff up!!! And when it falls in your lap, there is a responsibility of reporting it…especially if it supports your opinion, and it most certainly does!!! Read BOTH articles from recent news reports.

Owner close to resolving issues threatening zoo

Ludwig hopes charges, citations can be settled after license received
11:00 PM, Jan. 31, 2012

Written by
Kent Tempus
OCR editor

Oconto County
» Lakewood Zoo
According to its website, Lakewood Zoo houses all kinds of animials: Siberian tigers, African spur-thighed tortoise, ring-tailed lemurs, kinkajou, llamas, alpacas, coatmundi, capybara, pheasants, wood ducks, wood chuck, fennec fox, raccoons, African lion, camel, sheep, pygmy goats, Flemish giant rabbits, African porcupine, porcupine, wallabys, miniature horses and donkeys, silver fox and quail.
A popular tourist destination in northern Oconto County appears to have averted a variety of legal and regulatory woes that threatened the future of the business.

“I’ve been dealing with all this crap that’s been blown out of proportion,” Lakewood Zoo owner Casey Ludwig said Monday morning. “I think a lot of it’s going away.”

Among the Ludwig’s troubles are five misdemeanor counts of possessing live harmful wild animals in Oconto County Circuit Court, and eight citations for possessing a live captive wild animal without a license.

Those charges came after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave Ludwig more than six months to renew his long-expired state license allowing him to operate a zoo.

The lack of a license prompted Oconto County officials to consider revoking Ludwig’s conditional use permit that allows him to operate the business, located along Highway 32 between Mountain and Lakewood.

Ludwig had been unable to obtain the license because he owed back taxes to the state, according to the criminal complaint.

However, Ludwig said the tax issue has been cleared up, allowing the DNR to issue his new Captive Animal Wildlife Farm Permit.

As proof, Ludwig provided a faxed copy of a letter from the DOR clearing him for receipt of an occupational license, and a copy of his new CWAFL.

“I got it back last week,” Ludwig said.

A DNR spokesperson confirmed the permit was issued Friday.

Ludwig said he’s still working get a new license from the United States Department of Agriculture, which he said allows him to open the zoo to the public. That license, he said, lapsed after he missed the renewal date.

But Ludwig said he expects to meet with the USDA sometime in February and get the license in time to reopen this spring.

“Now that (the DNR license is) out the way, I’ll have a hearing on that,” Ludwig said. “They were holding up with us not having a DNR license.”

The zoo was founded in 2008, according to its website.

Ludwig’s troubles began after the Department of Natural Resources received a complaint on April 29, 2011 that Ludwig was in possession of five grizzly bears at his business, according to the criminal complaint.

The DNR discovered that not only was Ludwig was not permitted to possess bear as part of his Captive Wild Animal Farm License, but that the CWAFL had expired in 2008.

“(P)art of the reasoning Ludwig’s license had not be renewed resulted from a hold notification from the Department of Revenue (DOR) that Ludwig had a tax delinquency issues with that agency,” the complaint said.

However, Captive Wildlife Administrative Warden Peter Dunn said the DNR decided to work with Ludwig to bring about his compliance, since Ludwig’s zoo had previously been licensed as a CWAFL.

“(S)ince bear is a species of animal that can be regulated as a harmful wildlife animal through proper licensing and inspections, the DNR elected to contact Ludwig, advise him of the infractions and provide an opportunity for Ludwig to come into compliance in lieu of an enforcement action,” the complaint said.

Dunn reached Ludwig by telephone on May 12. Ludwig said he “was aware that his CWAFL has expired because of back taxes demanded by DOR and that DOR was unwilling to work with him.” He added that he had retained an attorney “and was trying to get his affairs in order with DOR.”

Dunn also told Ludwig that once the issues with DOR were resolved, DOR would lift its hold and allow DNR to process an application. He told Ludwig to stay in constant contact and advise DNR of his progress, as well as the need to update his facility so that the fencing and enclosures conformed to suitable and standardized conditions.

“Ludwig stated that he understood the plan and agreed to work with the DNR,” the complaint said.

Over the next three months, though, the Ludwig had very limited contact with the DNR. Dunn was becoming suspicious of the delays, and on Aug. 2 told Ludwig he was frustrated over Ludwig’s inability to stay in contact with him or his adherence to the plan they agreed to in May to avoid an enforcement referral.

Ludwig told Dunn he was going to have his issues with DOR resolved on Aug. 15, then made some derogatory comments about DOR, the compliance officer assigned to his case and his attorney.

“Dunn stated that he again reminded Ludwig that he needed to stay in contact with him and that he needed to resolve the matter or else he would seek alternative care for the animals at Ludwig’s (Lakewood) Zoo,” the complaint said.

Court records show that at the time, two tax warrants had been filed against Ludwig in 2011, each for about $2,500. One had been delinquent sales taxes, had been satisfied. The other, seeking payment for delinquent income taxes, had not.

On Aug. 15, Dunn contacted DOR and found Ludwig had not met his obligations required to remove the hold placed on the DNR’s issuance of a license. He notified Ludwig in writing on Aug. 17 requesting he rectify the situation with DOR, update his facilities and enclosures and file a revised CWAFL application. He gave Ludwig until Aug. 26 to comply.

On Sept. 2, Dunn had not heard from Ludwig, so he arranged for a special investigator to covertly visit the zoo to determine what captive wildlife were present and therefore being illegally possessed and exhibited without authorization.

That visit took place on Sept. 10, and the investigator found a raccoon, two timber wolves, five silver fox, a couple of species of pheasants, ducks and geese and five grizzly bear cubs.

Officials later determined through federal records that the cubs were actually Syrian brown bear.

It was over the bears that the misdemeanor charges were filed. Each of the five counts carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000.

The eight forfeitures — written by Oconto County Conservation Warden Joe Paul – were for the raccoon, wolves and foxes.

The misdemeanor charges and citations were issued on Dec. 6. Ludwig made his initial appearance on Jan. 12, and was released after posting a $1,000 signature bond.

Ludwig said that he didn’t know at the time that the DNR regulated non-native bears. He is scheduled for a continued initial appearance on Feb. 9, and hopes the issue will be resolved then.

“I’m sure it will get dismissed, at least part of it,” he said, adding he anticipates paying some sort of fine.

Concerning the conditional use permit, issued in 2008, Planning & Zoning Administrator Pat Virtues sent Ludwig a letter on Jan. 17 telling him he had until the end of the month to provide a copy of his CWAFL.

“He hasn’t maintained his permits for a number of years, and if he doesn’t have the permits, why should (the county) continue his conditional use permit?” Virtues explained.

Ludwig said he didn’t need the license after 2008 because he didn’t have bears or wolves over the next few years.

The county requires that anyone with a conditional use permit must have the necessary state and/or federal permits for which the conditional use permit was sought, Virtues said.

In a phone call a day or two later, Virtues said was told by Ludwig and was told he may not get the license in by Jan. 31, but should have it before any hearing on the issue would be held.

“Whether that happens, I don’t know,” Virtues said.

Ludwig said Monday he was in the process of sending a copy of the license, dated Jan. 26, to Virtues.

The Oconto County Planning & Zoning Committee was scheduled to review the issue and consider revoking the permit at a meeting on Jan. 31. Among other things, the permit requires Ludwig to abide by any requirements of the DNR and to have animal pens constructed to DNR requirements, Virtues said.

Because of public notice requirements, the hearing would not be held until late February, he said. Should the permit be revoked, Virtues said, Ludwig couldn’t open the zoo as a business.

But Ludwig said he plans to have the zoo open in April or May.

He described the last nine months as “a nightmare” and blamed the DOR for much of the problem. Ludwig said he believed he reached an agreement with a supervisor to pay his back taxes and had made, only to find out later the agency did not accept it.

“We had a deal, but they would not work with me,” Ludwig said. “They think you should just have a pile of cash waiting around.”

Even after the second warrant in 2011 was resolved on Oct. 3, another warrant was issued. Ludwig claimed it didn’t have anything to do with the zoo.

The third warrant for nearly $2,500 in delinquent withholding tax was filed on Nov. 7. As of Jan. 30, it had not been satisfied, according to online court records. Ludwig said it could take weeks for the records to be updated.

Eventually though, he said, DOR changed its tone. In the letter to Ludwig, dated Dec. 5, the agency said he has made satisfactory arrangements on the lien.

Ludwig said the tax liens and resulting licensing problems took time away from other things he needed to accomplish.

“The problem is wasting all your time with politics when you could be working with animals,” Ludwig said.

Dunn, of the DNR, did not return a call seeking comment. A spokesperson for the DOR said she could not discuss cases of individual taxpayers.

Ludwig noted the zoo is important part of the tourism industry in northern Oconto County.

“I bring 30,000 people in here each year,” he said. “People (visit the zoo and) buy gas, they stay at the hotels and go to the restaurants. Without the zoo, it’d be a blow to area. This zoo is the best thing that ever happened to area.”

Zoo still facing permit problem

Without federal license, county sets hearing to revoke conditional use

11:00 PM, Feb. 14, 2012

Written by
Kent Tempus
OCR editor

Oconto County
Until it receives its federal license, Lakewood Zoo will face the loss of an Oconto County permit to operate the business, according Planning & Zoning Department Director Pat Virtues.

A hearing on whether to amend or revoke a conditional use permit granted to zoo owner Casey Ludwig has been scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Riverview Town Hall. The hearing will follow an on-site inspection of the zoo, located along Highway 32 between Mountain and Lakewood.

Ludwig — who also is facing five misdemeanor charges and eight citations concerning the animals at the zoo — said Friday, he was expecting to hear soon from the United States Department of Agriculture about his federal license.

“I’ve just got to go through the steps,” Ludwig said. “I’ll probably know more (this) week about it.”

Though Ludwig was granted a new Captive Animal Wildlife Farm Permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in late January, he also needs the USDA permit to exhibit animals.

“If he can get that by the time of the hearing, we’ll cancel that,” Virtues said. “If not, we’ll continue on.”

The county requires that anyone with a conditional use permit must have the necessary state and/or federal permits for which the conditional use permit was sought, Virtues said.

The conditional use permit — issued April 29, 2008 — allows Ludwig to operate the zoo and related retail businesses at the site. The permit requires Ludwig to abide by any requirements of the DNR and to have animal pens constructed to DNR requirements.

Ludwig said the county’s effort to revoke the permit is unnecessary right now, even if he doesn’t get the USDA license in time.

“We just have to reapply for it,” Ludwig said. “I don’t know why they’re wasting their time. We’re not open at this time of year.”

A USDA spokesman said Friday that Ludwig’s license — which expired after he missed the Dec. 1 renewal date — was on hold pending resolution of the court charges.

He was charged Dec. 6 with five misdemeanor counts of possessing live harmful wild animals in Oconto County Circuit Court, and eight citations for possessing a live captive wild animal without a license.

On Feb. 9, his attorney entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges.

The charges stem from a special investigator’s visit to the zoo on Sept. 10. A raccoon, two timber wolves, five silver fox, a couple of species of pheasants, ducks and geese, and five grizzly bear cubs were found. Officials later determined through federal records that the cubs were actually Syrian brown bear.

It was over the bears that the misdemeanor charges were filed. Each of the five counts carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000.

The eight forfeitures — written by Oconto County Conservation Warden Joe Paul — were for the raccoon, wolves and foxes.

Ludwig’s troubles began after the DNR received a complaint on April 29, 2011, that he was in possession of five grizzly bears at his business. The DNR discovered that not only was Ludwig was not permitted to possess bear as part of his CWAFL, but that the CWAFL had expired in 2008.

The DNR worked with Ludwig for four months, but after no progress had been made on obtaining the license, the special investigator was assigned to determine what animals were being held without the proper license.

Ludwig — who said he believed he didn’t need the permit to exhibit non-native bear — had been unable to obtain the license because he owed back taxes to the state, according to the criminal complaint. He blamed the delay on the state Department of Revenue, saying the agency would not work with him to clear up his tax warrants.

However, in a letter to Ludwig on Dec. 5, the state Department of Revenue said he had made satisfactory arrangements on the lien the agency placed on his property. DOR released the hold it placed on the issuance of the DNR license. He received the license on Jan. 27.
Ludwig just might be able to wiggle out of this and reopen his business but there was the eight forfeitures and that is not considered acceptable with the USDA to renew any license for at least a year according to the regulation book…There’s the possibility of jail time!!! Time will reveal if the USDA will make an exception when they never have before.
I see he has applied for his 501-c-3 -Does he know he will still be responsible for sales tax from retail sales!?! Will they even issue him a 501-c-3 with his history…Do pigs fly?!?
Stay tuned…I am sure there will be more!!! (Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others.) Best -B

~ by topcatsroar on February 21, 2012.

14 Responses to “Is Lakewood Zoo Going to be closed forever?!?”

  1. times are tough for the public employee right now time to go after the little zoo keeper. seems like if this was a public zoo there would be no problems.

    • I don’t think these ‘public employees’ realize just how hard things really are these days…If it became a public zoo instead of private ownership it will not survive. A small town like that should be standing behind the ‘little zoo keeper’ to get the place open and putting pressure on the USDA to get the place open!!! The town is loosing revenue and so is the zoo.

      • if anyone knew the history of mr ludwig as the community does you would not be bashing the communities that have tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and would understand this “poor zoo owner” is all about himself and starts and tires of businesses all the time. this is a pissing contest that due to his arrogance he will not relent to and it sure does generate some money for him.

      • Tammy, no one is bashing the community or Mr Ludwig…Just showing the news coverage and trying to see that animals are fed and cared for. I believe Me.Ludwig is attempting to turn things around and get the zoo opened…I should hope that any zoo would make a buck for the future of the animals to be secure. You sound angry with Ludwig and not sure if the current situation or ‘something else’ Best -B

  2. This stinks, I have been bringing my kids to the zoo since it opened. It is a great place to interact with animals you would not see otherwise. Instead of finding reasons to close it, why isn’t the state DNR or the community working with this group to keep it open? I am not taking Mr. Ludwig off the hook, rules are in place for a purpose. I do not know enough about it to make an opinion on making it a public zoo. Is it good or bad? I only know when government, (Local or federal) gets involved good things do not always happen.
    ( That is about as politically correct as I can put it.)

    • I think the zoo WILL reopen and things WILL work out…If the community continues to support it it will return and thrive. Best -B


  3. topcat my responses are not to you it’s to others who clearly do not know the background of casey ludwig as you and i do. i agree completely with you publishing facts that’s as it should be but shame on casey for preying on big hearted individuals and not being honest and letting them know what they are really supporting. I am a big animal supporter and my concerns are for the animals and those of us who are his neighbors.

  4. my anger toward ludwig is the way he treats people as well as the animals those poor animals don’t have a chance when he was open there were animals going without and starving as he has stated “if they are not money animals” he doesn’t care. So this is where my passion and yes a bit of anger comes from. whether he is open or not animals will continue to die and the government and his neighbors and everyone else will be blamed for it by ludwig as he cannot see he is not equipped intellectually, financially, spacially and most of all passionately to care for these animals.

    thank you for starting this site. :)

  5. the zoo does not make or break our community with regard to revenue . people do not travel states to come to the zoo they are tourists who have come to our community for years and will continue to do so whether or not the zoo is there. I know that is mentioned alot in all of his articles but the reality is he gets a small portion of visitor that are already up to take part in all of the other activities. i guess my frustration is all of the misinformation i keep seeing being put out by the zoo. mr ludwig is known to want to take credit for the survival of our communities but that is just not so.

  6. i am sorry to hear the zoo is closed .my family and i visited last year and had a great time . i did not witness anything like what is being said . the animals we seen looked to be happy and in good health .i dont know all the faces just what i seen . i hope the best for the owner and the animals..The zoo brought a lot of joy to my kids . please keep use posted would love to visit again.

    • The zoo has closed permanently and the animals are being placed. Yes, it is so sad when these things happen. I hope you took a lot of pictures.

  7. this colum is thee most rediculous thing i have ever seen i know casey i worked with casey ive been around casey for like 6 years he always took very good care of his animals he never killed any the one that went down was for cancer reasons not because he wanted money i am very upset with whoever posted this colum and i believe it should be taken down soon because everything in this colum is misleading my bottom line is if you dont know him then shut the fuck up and keep your mind in your own buisness!!!!!!!!

    • This is an extremely old post Austin (or is that Casey)-A reprint of things found and published in the news from last January 2012…I am entitled to my opinion just as you are to yours…It most certainly was my business at the time and not removing the post so I guess you’re going to have remain ‘very upset’…Certainly don’t think for a single minute telling me to ‘shut the fuck up’ goes over very well…Casey is a big boy, he made his own history not I…

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