Update: The Collins Zoo

This is not part of the Zoo Wars series but is an update to previous posts before Zoo Wars began. [previous posts listed below]

When constitutional rights have been violated then it wasn’t a legal seizure as so many of the HSUS animal seizures are therefore, it’s difficult to say there was any violation. The last inspection report on the USDA site indicates they still are permitted to show animals with the most recent report of August 16, 2012; there are no violations indicated and show the zoo in compliance. Previously, a judge decided that the seizure was illegal: https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/zoo-raid-violates-due-process-judge-says/

Frankly, any HSUS complaints after an UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION can not be viewed as truthful. Maybe these agencies are buying it, I’m NOT!!! Time and time again we find out it was a setup either by PETA, ASPCA or HSUS…their agenda is NOT to produce nice reports but to produce reports that contradict the actual truth-they were likely set up!!! It suits their agenda to making the news-which it did as the media increases their ratings and their advertisers as they always sensationalise the news and will always support the bad legislature bills, just as the rescue supports the passing of the bans and bad bills submitted in both the state and federal legislatures.

More of this story: https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/372/

  https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/collins-zoo-given-6-months-to-comply/

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20130514/NEWS/305140042/-Collins-Zoo-fights-stay-open-after-losing-license?nclick_check=1

Embattled Collins Zoo fights to stay open after losing license

Three tigers seized in January 2012 from the Collins Zoo are being rehabilitated at the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas.

Three tigers seized in January 2012 from the Collins Zoo are being rehabilitated at the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas.

The roadside Collins Zoo on U.S. 49 has lost its exhibitor’s license, ending for now a months-long quest by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to close the facility over alleged inhumane treatment of animals.

The license for the embattled zoo, which has operated for 43 years and is a fixture for those traveling south to Hattiesburg or the Gulf Coast, was jerked following the Department of Agriculture’s undercover investigation and legal complaints to state and federal officials by The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society officials said in a news release.

A U.S. administrative law judge issued an order in the case April 26, and Department of Agriculture officials are making it public today. As part of the investigation, three tigers seized in January 2012 from the zoo are being rehabilitated at the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, owned and operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with the Humane Society.

Zoo owners Gus and Betty White have fought government agencies for nearly 25 years over animal confiscations, hundreds of alleged violations and a civil lawsuit. They denied the Agriculture Department’s claims, saying inspectors misinterpret the rules and standards.

“We are appealing it,” Betty White said today of the ruling. “As it’s under appeal, we don’t have to close down or anything.

“This is just a long line of harassment we’ve been getting, mainly from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife,” she said. “They’ve all joined together, which is a lot of government agencies do. We’ve never had any safety issues or anything like that.”

Investigators said the Whites don’t have enough adequately trained employees to legally carry out husbandry for various types of animals, and that the zoo failed to maintain adequate veterinary care, disease control and prevention, euthanasia and proper record keeping. They said barriers between the public and animals were insufficient, along with various other structural and cleanliness violations at the facility. Their complaint also said the zoo doesn’t provide wholesome and adequate food, and does not remove animal feces and other contaminants from the facility.

In January 2012, the Humane Society assisted the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks in the seizure of tigers, cougars, leopards, a macaque monkey and wolf-hybrids from the zoo, which the Agriculture Department says is unaccredited. Department officials also say the Collins Zoo has long failed to comply with state and federal regulations concerning dangerous wild animals.

“We want those animals back,” Betty White said.

In March 2012, the Agriculture Department filed a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, alleging at least 47 separate violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and the accompanying regulations and standards. According to U.S. code, each can carry up to a $10,000 fine. A Covington County Justice Court Judge in September 2012 asked the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to create a comprehensive list of state regulation violations at the Collins Zoo and submit the list within 30 days. Following the state’s enforcement action, attorneys with HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section formally requested that USDA revoke the facility’s license.

In his ruling, the administrative judge determined that the “erosion of (White’s) resources has placed animals in jeopardy, and it is imperative that future risk of harm be avoided.” USDA moved for license revocation after a large number of animals died at the facility, including at least one tiger, a lion, a leopard, a cougar, a wolf and a dingo in a two year period from 2010-2012. [bloggers note: 6 animals died in 2 years BCR has had 143 cats die in around 10 years; an average of 14.3 animals a year…now that’s alarming]

“This action shows government oversight of private possession of dangerous wild animals is improving,” Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation and investigations at the Humane Society, said in the news release. “But, there’s a long way to go. To protect animal welfare and public safety, state and federal agencies must take additional steps to ensure that big cats, primates, bears, wolves and other inherently dangerous animals do not end up in the wrong hands.” [43 years in ‘wring hands?!? I think not possible…]

The judge found that “at times, animals showed obvious symptoms of distress, discomfort and/or disease and were not provided veterinary care.” The judge also held that the facility failed to maintain adequate records regarding the acquisition of animals, which calls into question whether this substandard facility was involved in the exotic pet trade, the news release said.

White said she and her husband have 30 days to appeal. “We’re working on it right now,” she said. But because the appeal goes back to the same administrative judge via the Agriculture Department, she said, she’s not optimistic the license will be restored. White said she’d then take the matter to federal court.

“They (the state Department of Wildlife) want me to lose my license so they don’t have to return my animals, even though a judge ruled it was an unconstitutional seizure,” White said.

She said the legal battle has taken a toll on visitors to the zoo. “But a lot of people still come because they believe they violated our constitutional rights,” White said.

_________________________________

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned  Best -B

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~ by topcatsroar on May 15, 2013.

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