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Gun-Toting Zoo Owners in Showdown With PETA and the Feds Over Baby Tigers

KATE BRIQUELET: ‘A Florida zoo featured on [television] for its tiger-cub ‘swims’ is facing lawsuits from PETA and state and federal agencies over its charity and treatment of the cats… Randy Stearns and his parents run Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT), a 22-acre zoo about 44 miles northeast of Tampa. The attraction has more than 300 animals: jaguars, lions, bears, lemurs, macaques, porcupines, bearded dragons, and other reptiles. But it’s known for baby tigers, deployed for photo-ops and swim sessions in the zoo’s chlorinated pool… Yet there’s allegedly a darker side to the tiger business, according to animal-welfare advocates — one that prematurely rips cubs away from their mothers and forces them into stressful encounters with humans for profit.

According to PETA, Dade City’s Wild Things is contributing to a captive tiger overpopulation crisis by continually breeding them for photo-ops and ticket sales. Once cubs grow too large for customer interactions, they’re left to languish for the rest of their days in cages, or sold off to other roadside attractions and collectors of exotic animals, PETA says… The big cats are at the center of separate lawsuits brought by PETA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which respectively allege the zoo violated the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act over its handling of the tigers. The zoo also faces a state lawsuit for allegedly accepting donations while not registered as a nonprofit’. SOURCE…

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