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During a 4 day inspection, the United States Department of Agriculture cited Natural Bridge Zoo for 31 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Some of the violations include:

  • Slamming guinea pigs on the concrete floor to kill them
  • Using expired medications, some more than 4 years past the expiration date
  • Physical abuse of a DeBrazza money who was confined in a undersized pet carrier and jabbed with sticks
  • Using tiger cubs who were too big and too strong for public handling
  • Not having records of any kind for more than 100 animals

USDA investigators say 35 of the animals were in need of vet care. Some were suffering from hair loss, abnormal skin conditions, and overgrown hooves.

The Natural Bridge Zoo addressed the USDA on its Facebook page. Here is just a part of the statement addressing concerns:

“The staff of Natural Bridge Zoo has dedicated their lives and personal resources to the preservation of species for over 40 years. We have provided valuable genetics and research to the animal industry; and we have provided animals to zoos all across the country from large AZA metro zoos to small privately owned zoos. Our successful reproduction and husbandry is unrivaled. We assure you, our visitors that every need our animals have is met, every USDA recommendation is followed and we are striving to constantly improve.”

You can click here to read the full statement from the zoo.

You can also see the USDA report by clicking here.