The owner of an unaccredited menagerie called Serenity Springs Wildlife Center pleaded guilty to stealing more than $40,000 from a volunteer who was bitten by a tiger at the facility. The victim took the fall for the attack and paid the zoo's owner, Nick Sculac, because he believed that a fine had been leveled by authorities—but no fine had been imposed. Sculac was sentenced to six years in a halfway house.
Over the years, PETA has filed many complaints about this operation, and federal authorities have cited the pseudo-sanctuary for numerous serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide veterinary care, providing insufficient shelter for animals, and failing to maintain safe and structurally sound enclosures. Serenity Springs uses baby tigers who have been torn away from their mothers and drags them out on the road to venues such as Walmart parking lots, where members of the public handle the traumatized animals and have their photos taken with them.
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This case serves as a timely reminder never to patronize shady "take a photo with a fill-in-the-blank" operations. People who want to help legitimate animal rescue operations should support only those accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor