Animals Rescued and Removed from Wildlife Trafficker and Exhibitor
Sawmiller conducted business under the name Wildlife on Wheels, which included breeding and exhibiting wild animals while running a puppy mill
WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund — with the assistance of local counsel named Taylor Waters, U.S. Marshals, and the Auglaize County Sheriffs Office — executed a court order, seizing three animals from infamous wild and domestic animal breeder and broker Robert Sawmiller near Wapakoneta, Ohio. Sawmiller — in addition to running a puppy mill — is known to have exchanged animals with roadside zoos including Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester, Iowa and Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Washington.
The animals rescued include two wolves and one Labrador. The Labrador named Fancy — used for breeding and confirmed to have had at least one litter — is female, 8 years old, and hasn’t been spayed.
“Sawmiller is known for exploiting animals in a number of ways, including his illegal and harmful treatment of wild animals — made possible by a patchwork of inconsistent state laws — along with running a puppy mill that prioritizes profits over the health of the animals,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are relieved to now be able to house the animals where they can thrive, undergo any further treatment that is necessary and — for the Labrador — to have an opportunity to be adopted.”
The Wild Animal Sanctuary also helped perform the rescue and animals were evaluated by a veterinarian. The animals were provided any necessary medical care before their journey to Colorado, where the two wolves will live out their lives at the sanctuary.
In addition to the puppy mill, Sawmiller is largely known as a notorious traveling exhibitor and breeder of captive wildlife, operating primarily under the name “Wildlife on Wheels.” He is known to keep wild species such as bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and badgers, whom he exhibits at events such as festivals, county fairs, and school programs.
Since as early as 2010, Sawmiller has received multiple non-compliance reports and official warnings from the USDA. His most recent inspection, on March 4, 2020, resulted in nineteen total non-compliances with AWA regulations, eleven of which were repeat and three “direct.” Direct non-compliances, which “adversely affect the health and well-being of the animal,” are the most serious violations a USDA inspector can report.
B-Roll available to press upon request.
The court’s decision ensures Special Memories Zoo is permanently closed following Animal Legal Defense Fund lawsuitJanuary 15, 2021 Press Release
For years, captive wild animals have suffered in the care of traveling zoo operator Robert Sawmiller. On December 9, 2020 two wolves and a Labrador named Fancy were rescued and transported to sanctuary through legal action brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
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