TUTTLE — A private animal safari owner said Wednesday a federal warning levied against him for substandard care of exotic animals in his care has been corrected.
“The problems have been corrected,” said William Meadows, Tiger Safari owner.
The May 21 Animal and Plant Inspection warning against Tiger Safari from the U.S. Department of Agriculture listed eight infractions ranging from failure to provide sufficient heat and light to several lemurs and a capuchin monkey, failure to provide an environmental enhancement plan to promote psychological well-being to primates, rodent infestation, and failure to provide clean and safe cages.
“Meadows has a long history of poor animal care,” said Naseem Amini, media relations specialist for the Humane Society of the United States.
In an email, Amini said “since 2004, he has been repeatedly cited by the USDA and in September 2012, he was also issued an official warning by the agency for serious violations that included inadequate public safety barriers around big cat and bear cages and multiple enclosures that were hazardous to the animals.”
Efforts to reach Amini after hours were unsuccessful.
We have growing pains,” Meadows said. “All of the animals are well taken care of and we have one of the cleanest parks in the state.”
The problems were already corrected when the federal agency came back out to the animal park to follow-up on the neglect allegations, he said.
The private animal park is home to 160 animals and reptiles, including 23 large cats, two bears, four kangaroos, 12 lemurs and a capuchin monkey, he said.
In regard to the warning about a lack of heating, Meadows said it was during a hard cold spell in February and the temperature outside was 10 degrees, while the temperature in the animal shelter registered at different locations between 32 to 39 degrees.
The standard is 45 degrees, according to the warning notice.
Meadows explained the lack in record keeping was the reason the park was written up for failure to provide environmental enhancement for the primates.
“We are an interactive zoo,” Meadows said. “Because (the one-on-one interaction) wasn’t documented on a day-to-day log we were written up for it.”
Meadows said an online tourism site lists the park as the top attraction in Tuttle. A review of the park on TripAdvisor.com showed the park received 142 reviews, with 20 reviews listing the park negatively.
Meadows blames the recent negative publicity on the national Humane Society and animal activist groups. They want to cut out private ownership and private zoos, he said.