Save Sloths! Stop wannabe Joe Exotic on Long Island

Save Sloths! Stop wannabe Joe Exotic on Long Island

August 2, 2022
Petition to
Supervisor, Town of Islip Angie Carpenter
Signatures: 2,702Next Goal: 5,000
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by John Di Leonardo

UPDATE: Thanks to your signatures, and two dozen resulting media exposés, the Town of Islip is taking this wannabe Joe Exotic to court! Please continue to sign and share to save the sloths and help us retire them to reputable sanctuaries where they can live a more natural life! 

Learn more on our new web page:


Sensitive, solitary, and nocturnal sloths, including a vulnerable baby, are being subjected to grabbing hands, noisy crowds, and ramshackle cages by notorious animal exploiter Larry Wallach at a new Long Island business that is already piling up violations. Help us help the sloths and shut down Sloth Encounters in Islip, NY!  

Larry Wallach, a notorious animal exploiter previously exhibiting out of East Rockaway, recently opened Sloth Encounters on a busy road next to an ice cream shop in Islip, and has already been cited for several public health hazards, including operating a petting zoo without a permit in violation of Suffolk County's sanitary code, change of use without a permit, lack of fire extinguishers, lack of carbon monoxide detectors and for electrical hazards, the latest of a long history of violations tied to Wallach — including animal mistreatment.  

Just last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Wallach after finding a sloth in his cluttered garage with hazards in and around the animal’s enclosure that “could injure the animal by burning, broken glass, or electrical shock.” The agency also cited a roadside zoo in Ohio after a tip from PETA that Wallach, holding an electric prod and accompanied by a dog, entered the cage of a young tiger he had dumped there after she outgrew the dilapidated cage that he had kept her in under the deck of his Nassau County residence.

The USDA also recently cited Wallach for an incident in which he took an unrestrained tiger cub to a public park and allowed the public to pet and handle the animal. A tip from PETA last year about Facebook Live videos—one of which depicted Wallach electroshocking a baby tiger named Sheba and threatening a dog with an electric prod—resulted in a slew of citations, including a "critical" citation for failure to follow veterinary instructions for treatment of Sheba’s broken toe, and further citations for confining her to an enclosure in disrepair that had broken floorboards, and putting her and a wolf at risk of injury by allowing them to interact in a dangerous manner. 

Wallach's sordid history goes back decades. In 2013, Wallach’s exhibitor license was suspended six months under a settlement with USDA. The agency accused him of failing to provide adequate veterinary care to animals and other violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In 2017, a petition was launched calling for his imprisonment. Last year, a former employee of Wallach's business partner Sam Mazzola came forward alleging that she caught Wallach drugging tiger and lion cubs for petting encounters when she worked with him at the Midway Mall in Ohio. Most recently, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation apparently decided not to renew Wallach's permit to keep dangerous animals following his chronic, blatant disregard for the law, however, sloths are not subject to this permit.  

Shortly after starting this campaign, Wallach called me from a restricted number posing as a Newsday reporter and trying to find out where I live. When I told him I knew he wasn't a reporter, he threatened me, "You f****** dweeb! You better watch out! I'm coming for you!" and hung up.  

We are not so easily deterred and in the weeks that have followed we've reported Wallach not only for code violations, but also reported him after he posted a picture of a baby deer in his sloth encounter. (Authorities were unable to locate the fawn and Wallach made the dubious claim that the deer entered and exited of their own accord.) We also reported Wallach after receiving a report that a child was bitten during an encounter on July 24th, requiring medical treatment and antibiotics.

Additionally, we have urged Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and the Islip Town Board to stop Wallach from operating an animal exhibitor in a retail district—apparently against zoning regulations—and enforce Article III: Wild Animals, §12-1 – 12-26 of Islip’s Code which bans the possession of wild animals as well as requires all animal exhibits to use "protective devices which are adequate to prevent such animals from escaping or from injuring the public".  

We will continue our campaign until Islip shuts down Sloth Encounters and authorities confiscate these suffering animals and place them in reputable sanctuaries where they can live a more natural life. Please join us in urging Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and the Islip Town Board to stop Wallach from exploiting sensitive sloths on Long Island! 

Support now
Signatures: 2,702Next Goal: 5,000
Support now

Decision Makers

  • Angie CarpenterSupervisor, Town of Islip