Demanding NYSDEC Revoke Animal Adventure Park Animal Exhibitor License
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition urging the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to investigate and revoke or deny the renewal of Animal Adventure Park’s exhibitor license.
NYSDEC to Respond to Petition
On March 16, 2023, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition urging the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to investigate and revoke or deny the renewal of Animal Adventure Park’s exhibitor license.
According to the petition, Animal Adventure Park is violating federal and state laws that govern the care of captive animals. The facility houses animals in enclosures unfit to ensure animal well-being, promotes improper public interaction with animals, and facilitates interstate animal trafficking. Public records, regulatory agency inspection reports, and the first-hand account of a veterinary expert demonstrate these ongoing legal violations.
A July 2020 visit by a captive wild animal veterinarian found several chronic and acute health issues among the animals living at Animal Adventure Park:
- April, the most famous giraffe at the facility, died prematurely in 2021, euthanized by the park because of advancing arthritis. During the July 2020 visit, the veterinarian observed that April walked with an abnormally short strided gait and had severe swelling on her her leg joints — the left tarsus and fetlock. April constantly shifted weight from limb to limb — another common finding in giraffes with severe disease in multiple limbs. April was observed hyperextending her right forelimb and dragging the hooves of her hind limbs when walking — an indication that it is too painful to fully lift her feet.
- All four giraffes had evidence of overgrown forelimbs, affecting their ability to walk. A male giraffe showed instability in his hind limbs while bending down and did not bend his forelimbs as giraffes normally do when bending down but rather splayed them out straight. He walked abnormally with a very stiff gait and dragged his hind feet.
- A long-haired pony had open wounds on her coronary bands — the part of a horse’s leg where the hairline meets the hoof.
- Tortoises exhibited pyramiding of the carapace, the hard upper shell, and flaring of the carapace which is due to an inappropriate diet or environment.
- The vast majority of the alpacas, sika deer, antelope, watusi cattle, and other hooved animals appeared to have overgrown hooves.
Animal Adventure Park has demonstrated a track record of inadequate care, reflected in first-hand expert accounts of visible animal injuries, by its own veterinarian’s admission that the facility lacks proper nutrition plans and capabilities to perform health procedures. Taken together, this amounts to a clear failure to provide veterinary care necessary for the physiological and psychological well-being of the animals at the facility.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund uses all available legal tools to secure increased protections and enforcement of existing laws for animals at roadside zoos and facilities exhibiting animals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has several other lawsuits alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act and/or state animal cruelty laws pending against roadside zoos, including the Olympic Game Farm in Washington, Farmers Inn in Pennsylvania, and Tiger Creek in Texas.
What action has been taken and related to what law? The complaint is sent to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate and enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) against licensee Animal Adventure Park.
Why this case is important: Millions of wild animals are living in captivity across the U.S. Many of these animals are forced to live in aquariums, circuses, theme parks, and zoos, while others live caged in private homes. But few federal laws protect these animals, who may be forced to perform or who are kept confined in small cages with little to meet their complex social and behavioral needs, which makes it critical that current laws be enforced. The Animal Legal Defense Fund monitors roadside zoos and attractions across the U.S. to protect animals in facilities that do not meet the minimal standards required by the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act.