The Tuttle Tiger Safari is facing heat for the second time in a year following a recent investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The inspection, which was conducted during the first week of January found a slew of violations. One such violation involved an issue between two deer. A deer named Fireball that was treated for injuries sustained by another member of the herd, was placed back in an enclosure with the deer that caused his injuries and was subsequently killed by that deer.
"Tiger Safari has received two official warnings since 2012 and 14 pages of violations were listed in the most recent investigation," Humane Society Captive Wildlife Specialist Lisa Wathne said. "We hope the USDA takes this to the next level and files charges against the facility."
Tiger Safari owner Bill Meadows could not be reached before press time.
Wathne said she would like to see fines assessed and Tiger Safari's USDA license revoked.
"In Oklahoma there are no laws preventing the private ownership of exotic animals, but without a license they could not display the animals or make money off of them," Wathne said.
USDA Public Affairs Specialist Tanye Espinosa said an open investigation is ongoing at the Tuttle Tiger Safari.
"An investigation can lead to an official warning letter, which is an enforcement action that does not contain a monetary penalty but does let a facility know they need to come into compliance or we will take further action. It also lets them know that we will be monitoring them more closely," Espinosa said. "Or a stipulation may be issued, which is a monetary penalty. An investigation may be sent to an administrative law judge who would then determine whether to asses a penalty fine, and/or license suspension or revocation."
Should TTS's license be revoked the USDA would help with relocating the animals, according to Espinosa.
"If the administrative law Judge revoked their license or if the owner decided that they did not want to exhibit animals, yes, APHIS is always willing to help licensees and anyone who has regulated animals with obtaining new homes for their animals," she said.
The full list of infractions is as follows:
• Repeated failure to provide veterinary care, including to:
• A tiger who had a growth on his tail that was present during HSUS’s investigation and that had increased in size by the time of the USDA’s inspection
• A deer named Fireball, who had been gored by another deer and whose records did not indicate that he had received prescribed antibiotics for his injuries
• Repeated failure to provide adequate shelter to protect animals from extreme cold temperatures, including an elderly capuchin monkey named Emmett, four lemurs, a spider monkey, and a kangaroo who were all observed shivering during the inspection. In May 2014, Tiger Safari received a letter of warning from the USDA that cited the park for animals being held in freezing conditions during a February 2014 inspection.
• Animals housed outdoors did not have available drinking water - the water in the troughs was frozen solid. When a muntjac deer was provided with fresh water, “he ran to the water receptacle and was observed by the USDA inspectors to continuously drink for 50 to 60 seconds.”
• Failure to separate incompatible animals including:
• A male deer named Fireball who was put into an enclosure with a deer who had previously injured him and who subsequently killed him
• A female porcupine who was continually attacked by two male porcupines in the enclosure and whose only refuge was a den box where she was forced to lay in a puddle of water and urine
• Failure to have sufficient distance and/or barriers in place between animals and the public, including a 10-month-old tiger, a kinkajou, and a savannah cat
• Numerous enclosures were excessively rusted and/or had numerous holes, exposed wires, nails, screws, and bolts
• An excessive accumulation of rodent feces and cockroaches throughout the facility