Suing the Taxpayer Enriches Extremists

In the latest abuse of the taxpayer funded court system, animal rights activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have threatened to sue two owners of chimpanzees under the federal Endangered Species Act, the DeYoung Family Zoo in Michigan and the Missouri Primate Foundation in Festus, Missouri.

PETA wants to use the brute power of the federal government to take these animals away from their homes and give them away to Global Federal of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) approved animal rights run sanctuaries using the same tactics they did in the Lolita orca whale case featured in Part 1 of this 2 part series.


While not all GFAS accredited sanctuaries are run by animal rights extremists, those that are, have notorious reputations for mishandling animals.  For example look at what the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) did to the Tiger Ridge animals and several other cases when they illegally seized their animals, killed some through their own sheer incompetence and then sent several others to the Spirit of the Hills sanctuary in South Dakota and others.

Spirit of the Hills, a facility that lost its license several times in 2014, had 18 severely underweight animals taken away from them in October 2016 after USDA inspectors found substandard care and suspended their license to own animals once again.  Four of the starving animals had originally been illegally seized from their owners by ODA and sent to Spirit of the Hills which was awarded “contractor costs” from Ohio taxpayer funds to care for them.

“Over the weekend, ODA was notified of an animal care concern at one of our contracted facilities, Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in South Dakota,” Mark Bruce, the department’s communications director, stated in an email to the Journal. “ODA took immediate steps to safely relocate three tigers and one bear under ODA’s custody that were housed at the facility. Those animals have been moved to another wildlife sanctuary under contract with the department.”

An Ohio judge recently ruled in the Tiger Ridge case that, “the ODA looked at Mr. Hetrick with “an evil eye and an unequal hand.”  The court finds that ODA purposefully and intentionally discriminated against Mr. Hetrick.”  The state is once again burning through taxpayer dollars to appeal the judgment against their overreach of power.  Or take for example, another animal rights run GFAS facility in California, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) who left their animals to die in the 64,728 acre Butte wildfire in 2015.  It was only at the last minute that the flames turned away from PAWS.  An act of God saved the animals there, not the animal rights activists who run PAWS and refused all offers of help to evacuate the animals.


In the case of the chimpanzees owned by the DeYoung Zoo and the Missouri Primate Foundation, activists want them sent to their own extremist-approved sanctuary called “Save the Chimps.”  In order to save the chimps as they call it, these activists have exiled over 250 animals to live on 12 three-acre islands off the coast of Florida.  There these former domesticated pet animal s are “set free” on what experienced animal  owners’ derisively call “Death Wish Island” to live out in the elements like their wild cousins.  A big question in my mind, since animal rights activists believe that animals should be left alone with no human interaction, will the volunteers at “Save the Chimps” leave all these poor chimpanzees to die in a future hurricane?  Just how exactly do you capture and evacuate 250 animals you set free on an island during a natural disaster?  Or are they going to refuse to evacuate them just like PAWS refused to evacuate their animals in a fire?  I also wonder what 250 chimpanzees are doing to the environment on these islands?   That’s a whole lot of concentrated chimp poop dirtying the Florida coastal waters.


We are seeing the troubling and scary trend of exotic animal bans that wrong exempt few ‘politically correct’ hypocritical, “private club accredited exotic animal ‘sanctuaries,’” controlled by extreme animal rights groups’ anti-animal ownership propaganda, and often staffed by inexperienced and poorly trained volunteers with high turnover.   Concentrating the majority of exotics, such as apes, large cats or bears in very few, AR propaganda driven sanctuaries could lead to serious animal welfare (AW) issues:  overcrowding, easy spread of animal to animal, or animal to human diseases, or possible catastrophe in case of natural disaster or intentional animal release.”
Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership (REXANO)

Many of these activist groups are using a loophole in the law to force the American taxpayer through the federal government to bring the hammer down continuously on private citizens who own animals under the ruse of “humane care.”  The pending PETA lawsuits are no different than the HSUS lawsuit against the federal government when they attempted to bully the feds into banning hunting on public land using taxpayer money for their lawsuit.

Under a little known loophole in the law called the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) non-profits can sue the government and be paid to do so, again and again and again.  HSUS lost the lawsuit but on July 12, 2011, they filed for “an award of a portion of the attorney’s fees and costs.”  That’s right, HSUS sued the government to stop hunting and fishing on public land owned by the American taxpayer, they lost, and they filed a claim with the government to be paid for their attorney’s fees.  In specific, they asked for $116,000 of the taxpayers money be paid to them.  This is one of the ways animal rights groups stay in business, keep so many lawyers on their payrolls and every American taxpayer is paying for it.”
The Art of Terror:  Inside the Animal Rights Movement

In order to fight back, the DeYoung Family Zoo and others who face down these activists have to use their own money to defend themselves against the abuse of the American taxpayer in the name of animal rights.  Many are bankrupted over their animals and forced to give them up.  There is nothing ethical about PETA or animal rights.

You can support the DeYoung Family Zoo by contributing to their legal defense fund by clicking here.

Katharine Dokken is a contributing writer for The Cavalry Group and the author of two new books, including The Art of Terror: Inside the Animal Rights Movement, available on Amazon. Follow Katharine and The Cavalry Group on Twitter: @KatharineDokken @TheCavalryGroup

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