Demand Justice for 25 Neglected Animals (And 6 Reasons to Avoid Petting Zoos)

An anonymous tip to local authorities and animal rights groups revealed 25 poor petting zoo animals in “horrible” shape in Davie, Florida. The animals were originally leased out to petting zoos and used for pony rides.

“I Don’t Abuse My Animals — I Love My Animals”

As reported in Local10, it was a difficult scene for the local Davie police and Animal Recovery Mission investigators. There were many distressed ponies, pigs, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits and goats at the scene.

It was clear to investigators that the animals were dehydrated and starving from the visible bones (when have you ever seen a pig’s spine showing?). There was also the issue of neglect on the property. Some animals were standing in their own feces and were suffering from mange. Other animals had never been wormed to prevent against parasites. Richard Couto with the Animal Rescue Mission explained that exploitation was also an issue, “On a weekly basis, children are riding this pony. Forced to work… This pony should have retired years ago.”

But the owner of the 25 petting zoo animals and his supporters don’t see the neglect. The owner of the property blames the animals’ ages — they’re just too “old” — on their bad shape. For his part, the owner of the animals told CBS4 that “I don’t abuse my animals. I love my animals. I care about my animals.” He also pays people to feed the animals for him, and he stops in to check on them once or twice a week himself. Despite the visible bones, the owner believes that his animals get “the proper amount of food,” and he’s working with a veterinarian to figure out why they’re not gaining weight.

6 Reasons You Should Avoid Petting Zoos

I wish that I could say that this is an isolated petting zoo story, but it’s not. While they can seem innocent at first glance, petting zoos are not educational or ethical. Here are six reasons based on the Florida story and PETA‘s research why we should avoid them altogether:

1. Travel: Animals that are leased out have to suffer the hardships of traveling in difficult conditions (e.g. possible extreme heat, inadequate food or drink or not enough breaks).

2. Neglect: Even if the animals look healthy on the outside, you can never be sure that they’re not suffering neglect when they’re not on display.

3. Disease: Petting zoos are dangerous to human health, particularly for children, the elderly or those with a weak immune system. Petting zoos can be described as “hotbeds of serious pathogens, including E. coli and salmonella bacteria. Experts warn that infections can spread through direct or even indirect animal contact. The area surrounding the animal’s cage can be teeming with bacteria, and children can even bring it home on their clothing.”

4. Education: They provide no educational value — it’s plain “exploitainment.”

5. Commodities: Some of the most abused animals — I’m thinking of pigs — are still explored in petting zoos because they’re still treated like commodities. They can be leased like an apartment or sat on like a chair. Think of the poor donkey who should be retired from giving rides to children week after week.

6. Justice: There are no real regulations to protect the animals in petting zoos. For example, even after Sgt. Pablo Castaneda with the Davie Police Department admitted “various farm animals and some guinea pigs and rabbits that hadn’t been fed in a while,” it was still “not clear if any charges would be filed.” It’s also not clear when or if the animals will be seized. Unbelievable!

Take Action!

Please send a clear message to Florida’s Davie Police Department demanding justice for those 25 malnourished, exploited and neglected animals by signing and sharing this petition. This abuse shouldn’t be tolerated or dismissed. And this “owner” should never be able to care for these or future animals.

Photo Credit: Jinglejammer


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

I have to disagree with #4 because most kids would never have the opportunity to see these animals any other way.

Melania Padilla
Melania P2 years ago

Petition signed

Julie Cannon
Julie Cannon2 years ago

Signed. So sad.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

Signed. It is sad that anyone could treat an animal this way.

Ruth S.
Ruth C2 years ago


Lorraine Wylie
Lorraine Wylie2 years ago

No animal should endure suffering like this! It's not cute or entertaining, boycott zoo's of any kind.

The J.
Vikram S2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago


Ilona V.
Ilona V2 years ago


We've got 2,148 signatures, help us get to 3,000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!