Close a roadside zoo

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As a child I was never aware of the cruelty behind zoos. As an adult I see them “up close and personal,” I realized that the animals were miserable. This instantly became very clear to me that the animals imprisoned in zoos are miserable and don’t want to be kept in artificial environments, have people gawk at them, listen to children who bang on the windows of their enclosures, or have cameras flashing in their faces. To put it simply, zoos are imprisoning animals who should be free.

Road side zoos as they are referred to are even worse. Animals are often kept in barren cages, such as concrete pens, and in stressful environments, with nothing more than an old tire or a log to stimulate their minds and enrich their lives.

Claws and Paws located at 1475 Ledgedale Rd in Lake Ariel, Pa sells itself as a wildlife sanctuary. It is little more than a backyard "zoo" that holds its animals in small barren enclosures and a large percentage of the animals look to be in need of medical attention. 

I was recently informed by a representative from PETA the following:

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licenses animal exhibitors but, unfortunately, the laws protecting captive animals are pitifully weak. The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) sets forth only minimum requirements for animal care, and for the most part, only addresses basic husbandry issues. For example, according to the AWA, animals must be fed, watered, and sheltered, yet space requirements only mandate that the animals be able to make “normal postural changes” (i.e. allow them enough room to stand up, lie down, and turn around). There is no requirement for grass, shrubbery or other natural vegetation. Some species, including horses, ponies, birds, reptiles, fish, and others, are afforded no protection.

Because the laws are so minimal, it is often difficult to attack zoos from a legal standpoint. You may find that the cages are tiny, the animals look hot and dispirited, or that the animals are displaying stereotypic behavior, but none of these conditions are specifically against the law. Even when exhibitors are consistently found non-compliant during inspections, they are typically allowed time to make “improvements.” Because the USDA rarely revokes operators’ licenses, or even levies fines, animals continue to suffer at zoos all over the country. Claws ‘n Paws is a classic example."

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