Myrtle Beach Zoo in South Carolina fined for violating animal welfare law
A Myrtle Beach-area zoo frequently in the crosshairs of animal rights groups such as PETA settled a nearly $8,000 fine last month for violating federal animal welfare laws at six times since 2020.
The Waccatee Zoological Farm along Enterprise Road in unincorporated Horry County has been hit with a $7,800 tax after a series of site inspections revealed unsafe conditions and a lack of medical care, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records.
- On March 5, 2020, a female zebu and two adult llamas were seen to have “significantly overgrown hooves”.
- On October 22, 2020, an adult Dall’s ram was seen to have open sores on all of its paws as well as overgrown hooves, suggesting “the ailments were persistent and were neglected.”
- On October 22, 2020, a contaminated water source was discovered for the zoo’s camel enclosure. Inspectors “could not see the bottom of the container and the camels had no access to drinking water”.
- On January 26, 2021, two llamas were seen to have overgrown hooves and elongated nails.
- On May 5, 2021, a pair of aoudad sheep were limping and their water container was obscured by murky brown water.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, Waccatee Zoo settled with the agency on March 30, although terms were not immediately known.
“Penalties like this are meted out to the worst of the worst, and Waccatee’s history of animal neglect clearly shows that it fits this bill,” PETA Assistant General Counsel Brittany said Friday. Peet, in a statement.
The fines come after PETA sent Waccatee notice of its intention to sue under the federal endangered species law. Just before Christmas, PETA cited in its 35-page letter “chronic and ongoing violations” of federal law regarding the care of a chimpanzee, leopards, lions, parrots, ring-tailed lemurs, a horned owl and two tigers.
Details outlined in this letter include allegations that malnutrition and neglect led to the death of the zoo’s tiger, Lila, in 2021.
In a rare move, PETA offered to cover relocation, transportation and vet costs if Waccatee agreed to hand over its animals.
Katherine Futtrell, co-owner of the zoo, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
This story was originally published April 8, 2022 2:02 p.m.