Hollywild Closes Its Doors and — as Always — PETA Is There

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has reacted to news that the board of a troubled Upstate animal park has decided it will not reopen for the 2017 season.

The board of directors of Hollywild Animal Park announced Thursday that the park will not be opening for the 2017 season.

Tim Todd, chairperson of the board of directors for Hollywild Animal Park, said that it is likely the park will not re-open to the public.

The board cited a lack of funding for the decision.

Brittany Peet, with PETA, released a statement Friday: “Hollywild Animal Park’s rap sheet is a mile long, from the catastrophic electrical fire that killed dozens of animals to the nearly $19,000 fine that it paid the government as the result of a litany of animal-welfare violations. Now that this hellhole has closed its doors, there should be nothing preventing it from taking PETA up on the longstanding offer to help transfer these animals from tiny concrete dens and cages to spacious, reputable sanctuaries. PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment.’”

Todd said a team of volunteers will continue to assist the park staff in caring for the animals.

“Taking care of the animals is our primary goal,” Todd said Friday. “All of the funds and donations not allocated to other needs will be used for the care and nurture of the animals. There is still staff at the park caring for the animals. The board is also coordinating with volunteers with experience in animal care who are assisting the staff. The Meeks family is also continuing to offer their support in the care of the animals.

“Hollywild Animal Park was originally a private animal park owned and operated by the Meeks family. When the park transition to a non-profit organization, the Meeks leased those animals to the 501C-3. If the park is ultimately unable to re-open; the Meeks family will retain ownership of their animals.”

The board previously decided in February the park would not be open on weekends in March as planned.

Seven employees, including the nonprofit park’s recently hired animal curator, were laid off in January, and executive director Kim Atchley resigned, Tiffany Hughes, with Hollywild, said.

There are two or three employees left at the park.

Hughes said that members of the Meeks family, co-founders of the park, have volunteered to help take care of the more than 300 animals. She said other volunteers who have experience with animals are also helping care for the animals.

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