“Tiger King” exposed Joe Exotic, Jeff Lowe, Tim Stark and Doc Antle for exploiting wild animals by forcing them to be handled by the public. However, these characters do not even scratch the surface of this horrific industry. There are hundreds more just like them.
Undercover video footage from a recent visit by the Humane Society of the United States at Bill Meadows’ Tiger Safari in Tuttle, Okla. led to a USDA citation for causing animals trauma and stress, based on a newly posted inspection report.
In March 2021 an HSUS investigator visited the facility, attended a “VIP Encounter,” and provided the USDA with disturbing undercover video showing a screaming baby otter and a dazed Fennec fox, both forced to endure handling by the public.
Last Thursday, the USDA released an inspection report that cited Tiger Safari for improper handling of the animals which acknowledged the otter’s distress and stated that the fox “appeared catatonic.”
Lisa Wathne, senior strategist of captive wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States, released the following statement:
“Callous operators of these inadequate, substandard facilities force stressed and frightened wild animals to be handled by the paying public. Whether they’re a lonely, distressed otter screaming frantically, a catatonic fox or tiger cubs torn from their mothers at birth, Tiger Safari and dozens of outfits just like it put profit ahead of animal welfare and public safety. The public needs to know that interactions with wild animals support a cruel industry, and the fastest way to stop it is to stop patronizing these facilities.”
Gillian Lyons, senior regulatory specialist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said:
“We’ve known for years that Tiger Safari’s treatment of animals is problematic and ensuring facilities like this don’t get away with ongoing abuse is a must. We appreciate that USDA inspected and cited this facility in response to the video provided by the Humane Society of the United States. We urge the agency to continue to take additional concrete steps to stop outfits that repeatedly violate the Animal Welfare Act in their tracks. This Administration has promised to take animal welfare enforcement seriously, and they must hold themselves to that promise.”
Tiger Safari has been on the HSUS radar for over a decade. Since 2010, the operation has had more than 100 USDA citations for violating the Animal Welfare Act. A 2014 HSUS undercover investigation revealed that Meadows snatched newborn tiger cubs from their mothers, subjected them to public handling and harsh discipline, and caged them for the remainder of their lives.
Crime fighting isn’t just for humans. There are furry friends throughout the country that also help to solve crimes. Alcatraz East Crime Museum is highlighting the importance of police service animals in a new display. The exhibit will open on July 23, 2021, and as part of the exhibit, they will have on-going guest appearances from varying departments. The first of which will be the morning of the launch from 9:30 am till 12:30 pm, where guests can meet local K9’s from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
All the K9s from TBI are expected to be at the museum, barring they are not called to duty. The K9’s expected include four arson dogs (Faith, Diesel, Honey, and Millie), and Zeus, which is an electronic storage detection K9. Faith is the agency’s first Accelerant Detection Canine and specializes in sniffing out evidence at fire scenes around the state. Honey was part of the “Puppies Behind Bars” program before becoming an Accelerant Detection Canine. Millie and Diesel are also both Accelerant Detection Canine’s, while Zeus is TBI’s only dog trained to detect odor from chemicals consistent across all electronic storage devices.
Some of the featured items in the new exhibit will include horseshoes from the New York City Mounted Police unit, a K9 vest used by a Pigeon Forge Police dog, and information that sheds light on the important work that animals do to help in law enforcement.
According to the National Police Dog Foundation, the most popular dogs used in police work are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch Shepherds. They report that the dogs typically start working when they are 12-15 months old, and they retire around age 10. The training for such a dog costs between $12,000 to $15,000 per dog, depending on the length of each class they take. The dogs are trained in a variety of areas, including obedience, agility, tracking, evidence searches, and open area and open building searches.
The museum is also hosting an annual graffiti contest. Winners of the 3rd Annual Graffiti Art Contest will receive $750 for first place, $350 for second place, and $200 for third place. The winning artists will have their artwork displayed in the museum along with winning a cash prize. Artists must submit examples of their graffiti artwork online to be eligible for the contest. Up to ten selected artists will be invited to the museum to participate in the November 6th contest. The entries will be judged by local law enforcement and art professionals. For more information or to enter the contest, visit the site at: https://www.alcatrazeast.com/graffiti-contest/.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden; Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief; and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 approved the use of chemicals for fracking that could break down into toxic so-called forever chemicals, despite internal concerns, according to documents obtained by an advocacy group. The documents, secured through a Freedom of Information Act request by the group Physicians for Social Responsibility, indicate that major energy firms such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or substances that can degrade into them for fracking. The chemical use covered in the group’s report spans from 2012 to 2020, incorporating both the Obama and Trump administrations, the group said in a report Monday.
The documents suggest oil and gas companies used such substances in the drilling process in more than 1,200 wells in at least six states. Incomplete disclosure of which chemicals are used in the drilling process means either PFAS or chemicals that degrade into PFAS could have been used even more extensively than the report indicates, according to the group. Affected states include Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.
Internal EPA materials indicated concerns about the potential impact of the approval of the chemicals in drilling and fracking. Agency personnel specifically expressed concerns about the degradation of the chemicals into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogen that was the subject of the 2019 film “Dark Waters.” “EPA has concerns that these degradation products will persist in the environment, could bioaccumulate or biomagnify, and could be toxic (PBT) to people, wild mammals, and birds based on data on analog chemicals, including PFOA and [REDACTED],” personnel wrote in one document obtained by the group.
“The evidence that people could be unknowingly exposed to these extremely toxic chemicals through oil and gas operations is disturbing,” report author Dusty Horwitt, an attorney and researcher who works as a consultant for the group, said in a statement. “Considering the terrible history of pollution associated with PFAS, EPA and state governments need to move quickly to ensure that the public knows where these chemicals have been used and is protected from their impacts.”
The report includes a series of recommendations in response to its findings, including an assessment of whether PFAS or PFAS breakdown products have hurt public health. The group also recommends either the EPA or state agencies analyze where waste products from the use of such chemicals have ended up and test waters, plants and animals in the area for their presence. It further suggests a hold on all PFAS use for oil and gas and restrictions on oil and gas drilling. “When doubt exists as to the existence or danger of contamination, the rule of thumb should be, ‘First, do no harm,’” it concludes. In a statement to The Hill, an EPA spokesperson said the Biden administration has made PFAS "a top priority."
"To address these challenges and meet the needs of our partners and communities across the United States, EPA is developing a multi-year strategy to deliver critical public health protections to the American public, prioritizing partnerships and collaboration within EPA and with our federal, state, tribal and local partners, and will continue to engage with the public about the risk associated with these chemicals," the spokesperson added. "EPA will review the report."
A California woman was killed in her sleep by a grizzly bear while camping in Montana. Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was sleeping in her tent when the 400-pound bear attacked her.
Campers in another tent heard the commotion and used bear spray to scare the animal away.
Officials said the bear stumbled onto the campsite around 3 a.m. and woke up the campers. The bear didn't bother them at the time, and the campers stored all of their food as a precaution. At some point during the night, the bear also broke into a chicken coop and ate several chickens.
Around 3:30 a.m., the bear returned to the campsite and mauled Lokan in her tent.
Authorities with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said that wardens are trying to locate the bear and will have to put it down. They have set up traps in the area and hope to catch it before it causes more damage or kills somebody else.
"At this point, our best chance for catching this bear will be culvert traps set in the area near the chicken coop where the bear killed and ate several chickens," said Randy Arnold, FWP regional supervisor in Missoula.
Fatal bear attacks are extremely rare in the northern Rocky Mountains. In the past 20 years, there have been just two other maulings that resulted in death.
The brilliant blue peacock was found dead in the yard of a mobile home last month, covered in its own blood and bearing a bullet wound in its feathered chest.
Distraught neighbors in McKinleyville, Calif., huddled around the magnificent peafowl, affectionately called Peony, Mr. P or Azul. In the years since he had started wandering the Northern California enclave, the feral bird had become beloved by the small community.
But apparently, not by everyone.
An ominous Craigslist ad apparently posted by an irate neighbor might hold the key to the peacock’s tragic fate, the news site Lost Coast Outpost reported. “The job is simple … get rid of a wild peacock that is disrupting our lives by any means necessary,” the listing read, according to a screenshot the news site posted. The ad, which offered money in exchange for the killing, appears to have been removed from Craigslist.
Goldfish owners who no longer want their pets sometimes feel they’re doing the right thing by setting them free in local waterways or flushing them down the toilet, allowing them a chance to survive.
But these actions are wreaking ecological havoc, Gizmodo reports. In some cases the fish, which are considered an invasive species, are growing to the size of a football.
Officials in Burnsville, MN, near Minneapolis, recently took to Twitter asking residents to stop letting their goldfish go.
“They grow bigger than you think and contribute to poor water quality by mucking up the bottom sediments and uprooting plants,” they wrote.
The fish have recently been found in Keller Lake.
The tweet included photos showing some goldfish about the size of a football.
Goldfish reproduce prolifically and are highly resilient. They’ve been identified in numerous other locations, including Nevada, Colorado, Maryland and Alberta, Gizmodo reports.
On Monday, more than 110 tons of dead sea life had been collected in St. Petersburg. Then by Tuesday, that number jumped to 613 tons, or about 1.2 million pounds around the Bay area, according to Pinellas County.
Around 124 tons of sea life were collected between Sunday and Monday alone from Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway, county leaders said.
Daily samples from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show the red tide sweeping into Tampa Bay. The most recent samples show high levels of the harmful algae Karenia brevis near Camp Key, Snake Key, and the southeast tip of Bayboro Harbor. People who live along the water in Coquina Key said they have never seen this many fish die because of red tide.
Pinellas County added that some parts of Tampa Bay tested 10 to 17 times higher than what is considered "high" levels of the organism.
In an attempt to slow the red tide bloom, the city of St. Petersburg's ban on fertilizer is still in effect until Sept. 30. City leaders say increased rainfall in the summer months can cause nutrients from fertilizer to reach water bodies and potentially cause algae blooms, fish kills, and water quality issues.
The Ocean Circulation Group at the University of South Florida is also collecting samples throughout the Tampa Bay area and forecasting trajectories of the red tide. Data from the samples for July 12-16 show high levels of algae traveling further into Tampa Bay, concentrating along some of the shorelines.
As the cleanup continues, the city of St. Petersburg has several locations for residents to drop off any dead sea life collected.
To report a fish kill to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), call the hotline at 800-636-0511.
Red tide is the harmful algal bloom that produces toxic chemicals that can cause respiratory illnesses in people and even serious and sometimes deadly effects on marine life.
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that “Tiger King” Joe Exotic should get a shorter prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin. A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver found that the trial court wrongly treated those two convictions separately in calculating his prison term under sentencing guidelines.
The panel agreed with Maldonado-Passage that the court should have treated them as one conviction at sentencing because they both involved the same goal of killing Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. According to the ruling, the court should have sentenced Maldonado-Passage to somewhere between 17 1/2 years and just under 22 years in prison, rather than between just under 22 years and 27 years in prison. The court ordered the trial court to re-sentence Maldonado-Passage.
The blond mullet-wearing zookeeper, known for his expletive-laden rants on YouTube and a failed 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign, was prominently featured in the popular Netflix true-crime series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
The AKC Humane Fund, Inc. is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Sir John D. Spurling Scholarship, celebrating the human-canine bond. Each year, the AKC Humane Fund awards five full-time students enrolled in courses of study that contribute to the well-being of dogs and the advancement of responsible pet ownership.
The scholarship is named in honor of Sir John D. Spurling, founder of PetPartners, Inc. which provides comprehensive and affordable pet health insurance to dog and cat owners throughout the United States.
“Demonstrating dedication and responsible pet ownership is important to the AKC Humane Fund, and these five outstanding students show that they are the future of exemplary pet care professionals,” said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “Each of the recipients has demonstrated excellence in their academic records and their dedication to the well-being of dogs. They have earned this scholarship and we are pleased to award them with it.”
The AKC Humane Fund awards $2,000 to each of the five scholarship recipients, payable as tuition assistance to accredited institutions in which each student is enrolled in courses of study focusing on the care of pets.
The 2021 recipients are:
Kaitlyn Praisler- Morehead State University
Diana Chan- Tufts University
Maya Harlow- Mississippi State University
Cassie Van Hoof- Michigan State University
Madison Luker- University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
For more about other AKC Humane Fund grants, visit www.akchumanefund.org.
“A lot us have been talking about the lake as flatlining,” said Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake, to the AP.
Per The Associated Press, the lake is expected to reach a 170-year low, which comes as a major drought impacts the Western United States. That’s on top of a wildfire season that has already created fires across Utah and the other Western states.
But the Great Salt Lake has faced several other challenges, too. This has been an ongoing issue as questions have been raised about whether the lake will eventually become dust.
The Deseret News has reported that the Great Salt Lake’s volume has dropped 50% overall, and the lake is drying up quickly.
“For the Great Salt Lake, though, it is only the latest challenge. People for years have been diverting water from rivers that flow into the lake to water crops and supply homes. Because the lake is shallow — about 35 feet (11 meters) at its deepest point — less water quickly translates to receding shorelines,” AP reports.
To fix the lake, experts are hoping to implement new water legislation and conservation strategies.
“These things are going to take a long time to unfold,” said Steve Clyde, director of Clyde Snow Attorneys at Law and co-chairman of Natural Resources and Water Law Practice Group, according to the Deseret News. “It takes about two to three years of really working through the community and helping people to want to buy in.”