Federal officials have filed a complaint against the owners of the 50-acre Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida for failing to properly care for their animals. The charges laid by the United States Department of Agriculture said that rabbits were not separated so their babies were injured or killed, and that tiger enclosures did not have proper ventilation, while other enclosures were rusted or had hazardous materials that could harm the animals.
The charges also say that proper veterinary care has not been used, including the use of expired medication and shooting an animal as a means of euthanasia. Additionally, lion and tiger food bins were not cleaned properly and goats and sheep did not have adequate shelter against the elements.
As a result of these infractions and others, owner Eric Mogensen and his daughter, Meghan Mogensen, were charged with multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the Gulf Breeze facility as well as other facilities that they own in Virginia, the Reston Zoo and the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge. In Virginia, they were also charged due to complaints of them drowning a wallaby in a bucket of water and throwing the body into a dumpster and mishandling a spider monkey in a way that caused its death as a result of hypothermia. A former zoo curator also said that the wallaby’s death is only the tip of the iceberg, as other animals have reportedly been inhumanely killed, including rabbits who were killed by being bashed against walls.
What is most shocking is how long these violations could have been occurring. But for now, it is good that the Mogensens will be charged for their abuse of their animals, and hopefully now the animals will be cared for properly. The worst part about all of this? Owner, Meghan Mogensen was found guilty of drug possession and animal cruelty in 2012 at the Reston Zoo, and yet has still been allowed to own this zoo and care for these animals. She spent 30 days in jail for killing the wallaby, which is absolutely ridiculous. And here, once again, are more charges of animal abuse against she and her father.
Hopefully there will be enough public outcry over these heinous acts that will allow for the animals to be sent to other facilities where they will be safe and well cared for and that the Mogensens will not be allowed to keep animals anymore, since they obviously are not responsible owners.