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Florida Roadside Zoo ‘Single Vision’ Being Investigated For Wild Animal Interactions

A roadside zoo in Florida is under state and federal investigation following numerous documented violations of animal welfare laws, including for permitting violative public interactions with a young jaguar, cougar, and lion cubs,  as well as with adult lions, a jaguar, and a bear, according to public records documents obtained by Lady Freethinker through public records requests.

Single Vision, a nonprofit organization in Melrose registered under owner Carl Bovard, advertises itself as a “wildlife sanctuary” that is “protecting our vanishing wild”, according to its Facebook pageWhile true and reputable wildlife sanctuaries don’t permit paid, hands-on contact with their animals, Single Vision’s offerings include taking photos, petting, and feeding numerous species — including baby bears, bobcats, caracals, servals, coatimundi, kinkajous, and young big cats, according to the website and social media postings as of August. 

Single Vision’s website also advertises that big cats are available to travel off-site to celebrate “promotions, birthday parties, special events and to draw people to your fundraiser” and on-property  “exclusive photo opportunities,” including “up-close and personal private photo sessions.”

True conservation messaging for exotic species, as outlined by animal welfare experts, requires highlighting that wild animals are wild — a cornerstone that conflicts with the reported atmosphere at Single Vision, as evidenced by Bovard’s citations for improperly keeping wildlife in public records documents and also several online comments, including a highly-starred review in which a visitor noted that the animals “are treated like pets.”  

Bovard — whose professional background includes positions at other controversial and exploitative animal venues that use exotic animals for people’s “entertainment”,  including Sea World, Jungleland Zoo, Busch Gardens, and T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station – has been cited by both state and federal authorities for improperly keeping bear cubs and a young hyena in his porch and within his home. He also needed emergency treatment after “playing” with one of his mountain lions, who ripped his head open in a wound that required multiple stitches, according to public records documents.

Single Vision

(Courtesy USDA)

This year alone, Single Vision has had violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act documented at two of its three most recent federal inspections, with a total 10 noncompliant issues– including three “critical” violations, the most serious category classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency that oversees licensees. Overall, the facility has had noncompliances noted at 13 of 18 USDA inspections since 2014– or 72 percent – and a total of 46 documented issues.

Conditions documented at the federal level included animals going without adequate veterinary care, more than 30 documented violative hands-on interactions between members of the public and exotic animals, sanitation issues, enclosures in need of repair, and Bovard reportedly providing fraudulent veterinary information and threatening federal inspectors, according to USDA reports. 

At the state level, Single Vision has been cited for issues including inadequate cage sizing and strength, escaped animals, incomplete records, and permitting public contact with bear cubs, according to records from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), obtained by Lady Freethinker through public records request. 

Single Vision’s USDA license currently is active through April 25, 2025. The nonprofit reportedly brings in about $182,690 in annual revenue according to Dun & Bradstreet, a company that tracks income for private businesses.

Bovard, who spoke with Lady Freethinker briefly by phone, said his facility complies with all animal welfare laws and referred to his facility’s last inspection with no noted noncompliant issues — which was on June 13, according to USDA records. 

The facility was under both state and federal investigation as of July 20, according to documents received by Lady Freethinker from the USDA. Bovard denied any investigations were ongoing and said he had been cleared, including regarding the public contact with wild animals.

“That investigation has been completed and I was found innocent of all charges with the public, because none of the people were the public,” he said. “They’re friends, they’re zookeepers, they raised the cats that I have currently.”

When asked about the proliferation of social media posts online, in which individuals are shown in physical contact with wild animals and indicate in their comments section that they are visitors to Single Vision, Bovard said, “We abide by all the laws set by Fish and Wildlife and the USDA as far as contact with any of the animals.”

Single Vision

(Image via Facebook, redacted for privacy)

Dangerous Interactions, Veterinary Violations, and Other Issues at the Federal Level

Single Vision had no violations noted at its most recent inspection on June 13, according to the USDA report. But past inspections this year have documented numerous issues regarding veterinary care, public interactions with exotic animals, and the conditions in which the animals are kept.

Federal inspectors during an April 28 inspection noted a repeat offense of a female Geoffrey’s cat with a squinting eye, scab, and general hair loss going without veterinary care. Inspectors had previously pointed out the cat’s condition during a March 8 inspection, more than a month earlier. The report notes that Single Vision had claimed the cat’s condition had been discussed with his vet and in doing so “knowingly provided USDA officials false information,” according to the report. 

Single Vision’s  attending veterinarian, when contacted, denied evaluating the cat or talking about her condition with Single Vision. The vet also denied that Single Vision regularly requested annual veterinarian visits and added that she hadn’t signed off on a program of veterinary care in more than two years, according to the USDA reports.

“Most importantly, discussions with the attending veterinarian identified a complete lack of communication between the licensee and the attending veterinarian regarding proper veterinary care, nutritional and supplementation requirements, internal and external parasite control and other aspects of animal care and use,” the federal inspector wrote. “The licensee does not have regularly scheduled visits by the attending veterinarian to the premises and routinely disregards the AV’s [attending veterinarian’s] advice.” 

The March inspection report identified 31 instances of inappropriate hands-on contact between members of the public and wild animals, including numerous people hugging, petting, and otherwise interacting with a 6-month-old jaguar, a young female cougar, and two young bear cubs. Numerous people also were allowed to touch, pet, and otherwise interact with adult lions and an adult jaguar, and one visitor was documented touching the muzzle of an adult bear, according to the reports. 

“The licensee allows family members, personal friends, and other exotic animal exhibitors to interact with dangerous animals over 12 weeks of age without being under the direct control of a knowledgeable and experienced animal handler,” the inspector wrote. “At approximately 12 weeks of age, dangerous animals, such as tigers, lions, bears, and wolves become too big, too fast and too strong to be used [in] public contact.”

Single Vision

(Image via Facebook, redacted for privacy)

USDA inspectors previously had documented inappropriate visitor-animal contact – involving an adult bobcat and a bear cub who bit a visitor and drew blood – as early as May 2014.

Other issues identified at the March and April inspections this year included two geriatric, thin tigers who reportedly had no veterinarian consultation about their quality of life, missing acquisition records, and enclosures with wood rot, exposed nails, and a warped roof. Noted sanitation issues included accumulated feces, mud, and leftover food and a clogged drainage system in an otter enclosure, and a build-up of food and feces in a Geoffrey’s cat enclosure that “attracted numerous flying insects,” according to the reports.

The federal inspector also noted an adolescent spotted hyena living within Bovard’s residence, with reported free access to the home despite “numerous dangers in a house setting that can cause harm,” according to the report.

Other non-compliance over the year included incomplete records, enclosures in need of repair, an insufficient Environmental Enrichment Plan (EEP) for a bush baby, hybrid ruffed lemur, and owl monkey,  murky brown water and water receptacles filled with weeds or algae, and several citations for an incomplete veterinary program, and not having a facility representative available on several occasions, according to the reports.

Bovard also reportedly “conducted himself in a threatening manner” during a March 2020 inspection, when he refused to allow the USDA inspector to take photos of the property and instead said “No, your inspection is over,” according to the report.

Single Vision

(Courtesy FWC)

Sanitation Issues, Escaped Animals, and Other Violations at Single Vision at the State Level

State inspectors have cited Single Vision Records for excessive amounts of feces and food waste in tiger and kinkajou enclosures, insufficient cage sizes, and enclosures in need of repair, according to public records obtained from the FWC. 

State inspectors also documented wild animals inappropriately living within Bovard’s residence.

“Mr. Bovard had two juvenile hybrid bears in an enclosure on the back porch of his residence and a juvenile hyena living inside his residence that need to be moved to enclosures that meet their respective species caging requirements,” a state inspector wrote in February.

Other cited issues included an Arctic fox who escaped from an enclosure, a raccoon whose rabies vaccination information was not available, incomplete records and inaccurate inventories of animals on-site, inadequate safety barriers and cage strength, inadequate pool sizes for a tortoise, bears, and otters, and possessing a jaguar, tawny lion, and two white lions without documentation of their source.

In 2018, Bovard talked with authorities after having his head stitched shut following an attack. Bovard explained that while cleaning the cage of a 6-year-old cougar, the wild cat “became playful,” and that in response he “played around for a few minutes,” causing the cat to get “excited” and “play rough,” according to a witness statement obtained via state public records and Clay County Sheriff reports

Bovard also reported being bitten by one of his Syrian bears in 2017, which state authorities attributed to a “handler error,” according to the public records documents.

 

Single Vision

(Courtesy FWC)

Robert Klepper, with the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, told Lady Freethinker that federal captive wildlife citations could affect a facility’s eligibility for a Florida captive wildlife permit but declined to comment specifically on Single Vision, instead referring LFT to the state’s captive wildlife rules and rules governing public contact,  which he said all state licensees must follow.

Conflicting “Conservation” and Care Messaging at Single Vision

Single Vision notes on its page for Guidestar, an information service reporting on U.S. nonprofits, that its mission is “education about exotic and endangered animals” and adds that “educational programs” are an integral service.

The profile continues, “We provide up close and personal tours and interactions, filled with educational information and statistics, with our animal ambassadors in the hopes that the very personal experience people have at our facility helps them to be a better ambassador to our planet.”

Guidestar profiles have a section that asks nonprofits to explain their capabilities for accomplishing their stated missions. In that section, Single Vision classified that request as “difficult.”

“This is difficult for us, as there is only one owner/operator who also cares for all the animals and does all the tours,” Single Vision’s profile read as of Aug. 1. “We need more help but we work day and night to make our goals move in a forward direction.”

Despite that statement, Single Vision’s 990s – a government form required for nonprofit financial reporting – indicate the facility spent at least $25,000 on animal acquisition in one year alone.

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(Screenshots of Single Vision’s Guidestar profile and 990s)

The National Geographic Society defines conservation as “the act of protecting Earth’s natural resources for current and future generations.”

Lady Freethinker asked Bovard what key conservation messages he hopes visitors will take away from their experiences at Single Vision.

“We educate everyone who comes here about endangered species and conservation,” he said. “Everyone that leaves here has an educational experience and learns a lot more about the world.”

In past news reporting, Bovard also has offered his own thoughts on conservation. 

 “People say they belong in the wild but my question to them is – What wild?” Bovard previously told The Daily Mail.  “There are 7 billion people on this planet, and we are destroying the habitat of these animals. Pretty soon the only tigers left are going to be those in captivity and they may need to be used to repopulate the wild. I do what I can to give these guys the best lives possible and I want to work to ensure more tigers and lions in captivity are better treated.”  

Single Vision’s website shows that perspective entails creating unnatural conditions for wild animals, as evidenced in an animal biography for a caracal — a wild cat native to Africa and Asia — that notes, “Most evenings you can find him watching TV with Carl on the couch.”

The website also notes that Single Vision’s idea of what constitutes a “happy and healthy environment” for wild animals includes “daily interspecies play and human interaction.”

Single Vision claims on its website that its featured, paid interactions are “dependent on an animal’s mood,” but the public records documents show that interactions continued in spite of animal indicators to the contrary, including bear cubs who “became rowdy” and cubs who “nipped” at visitors. 

Single Vision

Screenshot via Facebook (Redacted for privacy)

Single Vision’s documented interference with federal inspectors, whose responsibility it is to ensure that licensees are upholding the bare minimum welfare requirements mandated by federal law, also conflicts with the facility’s touted online statements that they provide “the best care and settle for nothing less for our exotic animals,” according to the facility’s website.

Lady Freethinker would like to remind our readers that while interactions with exotic wildlife involving physical contact with the animals might seem “fun” or “harmless” on the surface, animals involved in hands-on, pay-to-play interactions often suffer. 

We encourage people to instead seek out opportunities at reputable sanctuaries that do not allow hands-on physical contact between people and wild animals and that are within the animal’s natural habitat and from a distance that won’t adversely impact the animals’ natural rhythms or welfare. 

Single Vision

Escaped fox (Courtesy FWC)

Single Vision




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Emaciated Dog Abandoned At Gas Station Recovering in Caring Hospice Home

An emaciated dog left abandoned outside a gas station in Florida has made a stunning recovery, thanks to caring rescuers at the Barky Pines Animal Rescue and a loving hospice mom.

It’s been a rough road for the gray and white Maltese, now named Lester, who arrived at emergency care with a heart murmur, severe dental disease, and cataracts.  The dog’s periodontal disease was so far advanced that he ended up losing all his teeth. 

But rescuers know brighter days are now ahead.

Lester is recovering with Tina, a hospice pet parent who Barky Pines said is “wonderful” and also is providing end-of-life care for another rescue.

Photos provided to Lady Freethinker showed a dog with bright eyes, a full coat of healthy-looking hair, and his tongue joyfully lolling out of his mouth while he frolicked outside in grass.

“All smiles now!” Barky Pines told LFT.

Lady Freethinker wrote a petition, which has since been signed by more than 37,000 people, on Lester’s behalf when his sad case broke. Thank you to everyone who spoke up for Lester! We sent our petition to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and are waiting to hear back about whether deputies have been able to connect anyone to this horrific act of intentional animal cruelty.

We are so grateful to all the caring people who helped Lester get to this place where he can start to have the life he deserves!

Lester

Lester (Courtesy of Barky Pines Animal Rescue)

Lester

(Courtesy of Barky Pines Animal Rescue)

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Victory for Primates! EGYPTAIR To Stop Shipping Monkeys for Cruel Experiments

EGYPTAIR will no longer ship monkeys for cruel research, a senior official reportedly said, following three months of intensive campaigning from animal welfare advocates.

The official reportedly told People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that the airline would not renew their contract to transport monkeys to laboratories.

The announcement followed three months of intensive campaigning by PETA – including protests in Frankfurt, London, Manila, New York City, Paris, and Washington DC – as well as a targeted campaign by the UK-based nonprofit Action for Primates (AfP), France’s One Voice, and Spain’s Stop Camarles.

EGYPTAIR did not immediately respond to media inquiries.

AfP received a tip from a concerned airport worker in March 2022 that a shipment of more than 700 long-tailed macaques from Cambodia were being routed to the United States via an EGYPTAIR flight through Cairo.

The nonprofit then determined the airline was shipping thousands of the monkeys here from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Mauritius – flights that involved more than 20 hours of flight time and often involved a five or six hour layover. The end destination for many of the monkeys was Envigo, a global contract company that carries out toxicity testing and that has recently made headlines for its horrific neglect of beagles at a Virginia-based facility. 

Monkeys involved in toxicity testing often are restrained by their necks to a “primate chair”  in order to inject varying doses of drugs that poison animals. Common side effects include vomiting, seizures, breathing and skin problems, weight loss, internal bleeding, organ failure, and death, AfP told Lady Freethinker.

But their suffering starts long before the cruel experiments start, with wild animals ripped from the wild then forced to endure the grueling air journeys in small crates that don’t allow for natural movement in the cargo hold of planes, where they can be subjected to loud noises, inadequate ventilation, flight delays, and extreme temperatures, AfP added.

“The global trade and transportation of non-human primates for research and toxicity testing is an industry steeped in suffering and cruelty,” AfP said in a news release. “Airlines play a key role in the chain of suffering, with tens of thousands of monkeys being transported every year to destinations around the world.”

AfP wrote to Egypt’s Prime Minister and to EGYPTAIR following the recent listing by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) of long-tailed macaques to an “Endangered” conservation status, and applauded EGYPTAIR for its decision to help break that chain of suffering. 

“Action for Primates has welcomed the announcement by EGYPTAIR that it has not renewed its contract in June 2022 to transport monkeys to laboratories,” AfP said.

EGYPTAIR now joins a growing number of airlines that refuse to ship monkeys to labs, including most recently Air France and Kenya Airways.

Lady Freethinker applauds EGYPTAIR for making this compassionate change. We also remain committed to ending the use of monkeys in dangerous and deadly experiments. If you haven’t already, sign our petition urging WAMOS Air to stop their shipments of monkeys for research. 

SIGN: Tell Royal Caribbean to End Deadly Shipping of Research Monkeys

 

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Justice for Dogs Starved To Death By Repeat Animal Cruelty Offender

110 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: Edmonson County Circuit Court Prosecutors

Emaciated dogs were starved in their cages and provided with rotting animals and skeletons or no food or water at all by their owner, a repeat animal cruelty offender, before being rescued in Edmondson County, Kentucky. 

Law enforcement who fielded arrived at a residence on Indian Creek Road to find multiple severely malnourished dogs, according to WBKO.  While some of the suffering animals had rotting corpses or bones of other animals in their cages, others had no food or water at all — with authorities finding only one empty bag of dog food on the property. 

Investigators also found the corpse of a “mummified” dog, chained to a dog house on the property, and the skeletal remains of several other dogs.

Authorities have charged Brownsville resident Greg Rigdon with five counts of second-degree animal cruelty and also with the torture of a dog with serial physical injury or death. 

Rigdon has been charged with animal cruelty twice before, including in October 2017 when authorities seized four Beagle puppies, including one who was so emaciated that veterinarians initially considered euthanizing him. 

On that occasion, years ago, authorities also found several deceased dogs on Rigdon’s property, according to news reports – but after Rigdon took a plea deal, he spent only 30 days in jail, with a 2-year probation period and a $570 restitution paid to the local animal shelter.

This repeat instance of extreme neglect is tragic evidence of why animal cruelty needs to be taken seriously and animal abusers need to be held fully accountable for their actions.

Probation and a fine for fatal animal cruelty is not justice. It’s not accountability. And it’s definitely not enough to send a message to animal abusers that they shouldn’t put more animals in dangerous – and deadly – conditions.

Sign our petition to Edmonson County Circuit Court prosecutors to treat this horrific case of repeat, fatal, and intentional animal cruelty with the severity it deserves – including a ban on owning animals for life. 

Starved beagle




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Victory for Coyotes and Other Animals

A county commission in the heart of carnivore territory in rural New Mexico has canceled its contract with a federal agency known for “managing” wildlife by killing them, according to news reports.

The Grant County Commission by a 2-1 vote nixed renewing its contract with Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying that the federal department had not honored its request to prioritize non-lethal methods to resolve rancher-carnivore conflicts.

Commissioners cited a quarterly report showing that Wildlife Services had killed more than 100 animals, including coyotes and feral cows, in the first three months of this year alone.

The Commission had requested reports prior to renewing its 2021 contract, along with provisions that Wildlife Services prioritize non-lethal strategies, following community feedback and outrage.

Grant County Commissioner Alicia Edwards said the reports lacked specific information about what non-lethal methods the department had used to deter the animals killed or proof that those measures had been prioritized, according to KRQE News 13.

“I actually think that this is a failure of appropriate reporting on behalf of Wildlife Services, and I’m disinclined to give them another chance actually on this one,” she said.

Commissioner Harry Browne also took issue with the vague reporting, saying the federal agency appeared to have “paid lip service” to the Commission’s concerns about the killings.

“When you look through all the reports we’ve received, there are some references to non-lethal but there’s no description,” he said. “That hardly counts as prioritizing non-lethal in my book.”

The USDA district supervisor of the project told KRQE that the agency had followed the policies in their agreement with the Commission and prioritizes non-lethal methods.  A WS spokesperson also told Lady Freethinker theat the agency “frequently recommends nonlethal methods, and these methods are often implemented directly by those who have requested assistance.”

But the mass killing of carnivores in Grant County by Wildlife Services isn’t an anomaly. 

Research published in the Environmental Claims Journal noted the federal agency nationwide killed more than eight million animals – including beavers, bobcats, gray wolves, black bears, and mountain lions –  between 2015 and 2018 alone under the guise of “management.” 

The report also noted that agents used brutal and cruel methods, including poison, steel traps, and shootings. 

While one of the county commissioners has since broached the subject of re-considering the contract renewal, local residents and conservation groups applauded the commission’s vote.

 “Money for killing coyotes, mountain lions and bears would be better spent on county road maintenance,” Silver City resident Glenn Griffin said. 

Animal Protection New Mexico  – along with WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity – also praised the commission’s firm stance prioritizing non-lethal approaches. 

“The county is rightfully holding USDA Wildlife Services accountable,” said Animal Protection- New Mexico’s Nina Eydelman. “They (WS) repeatedly disregarded this contract provision by using cruel and indiscriminate poisons instead of nonlethal means.”

Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, and a Grant County resident, added, “I hope more counties will follow suit and kick out these rule-breaking federal trappers and poisoners.”

We hope the county commissioners will stand firm in their refusal to sidestep their constituents’ stated concerns for more compassionate management and will instead select more humane management options from numerous alternatives that already exist.

New Mexico Coyote




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Justice for Elephants Beaten and Starved at Thai Tourist Attraction

175 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGETS: Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development; Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Ministry of Tourism and Sports in the Department of Tourism

Intelligent elephants are being starved, chained, and hit with metal spikes and vicious hooks so they will give rides and perform tricks for tourists at the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand, according to news reports.

Concerned visitors to the zoo reportedly offered to donate food but were refused entrance. They then posted photos of injured and seemingly malnourished elephants on social media and alerted wildlife and livestock officials, whose investigation found the zoo was in violation of the Cruelty Prevention and Animal Welfare Act, according to Coconuts Bangkok.

But shockingly, local authorities reportedly have decided not to pursue penalties or cruelty charges — instead telling the zoo to feed the elephants more grass and loosen the animals’ chains to reduce stress and injury, according to news reports.

The zoo has previously made the news for grossly underweight elephants being forced to perform tricks and also for handlers who reportedly stabbed elephants with spikes to force them to entertain tourists, kept animals chained in crowded and unsanitary conditions, and forced tigers, chimpanzees, and an orangutan to pose with tourists for the zoo’s profit.

Wild animals do not deserve to endure such extreme suffering and degradation for people’s “entertainment.”

Thailand must enforce its animal cruelty statutes, and these atrocious acts also must be treated with the severity they deserve.

Sign our petition urging Thailand authorities who oversee elephant welfare to thoroughly investigate conditions at this zoo, crack down with maximum penalties for violations, and retire these suffering animals to a reputable sanctuary where they will no longer be abused or exploited.

 

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Stop Giraffe ‘Trophy’ Hunting’and Dismemberment Through Federal Protections

40727 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Beloved giraffes are under serious threat of extinction, their lives threatened by war, human encroachment, trophy hunters and illegal poachers who brutally kill the animals, hack them apart, and sell their bones, skins, and heads to overseas markets – including in the United States.

U.S. law does not prohibit the trade in giraffe parts, and the U.S. market imported more than 40,000 giraffe parts and products in one decade alone, including more than 21,000 bone carvings and more than 3,700 hunting “trophies” of the gentle animals.

Those numbers make the United States a top importer and seller of giraffe parts – and a key contributor to the species’ possible extinction.

 The demand for giraffe parts – cruelly and senselessly made into trinkets like knife handles, jewelry, rugs, and book covers — is fueling illegal poaching and trophy hunting, said the Humane Society International and the Center for Biological Diversity, two groups that sued the federal government for missing a deadline after they presented significant scientific evidence in 2017 that giraffes need federal protections.

Because of that lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has until 2024 to issue a ruling on whether to protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – and it’s imperative that they do. 

Giraffe populations have plummeted by 40 percent in the last three decades, with only about 68,000 mature adults left in the wild, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Their decreasing numbers led the IUCN to list them as “vulnerable” to extinction in 2016. By 2019, four of the nine subspecies had their status changed to “endangered” and “critically endangered,” with some species having only an estimated 400 to 600 giraffes left.

Giraffes already are facing serious dangers from civil unrest, human encroachment, and habitat loss. There’s no reason they should also be killed and dismembered to feed people’s fetishes for “trophies” and trinkets made out of their corpses.

ESA protections would help curb U.S. imports and sales of giraffes and also would increase conservation funding to help preserve these iconic animals. We must do all we can to save giraffes before it is too late.

Sign our petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promptly review the significant scientific evidence that clearly shows giraffes need these protections – and then give these innocent animals the federal protections they deserve.

giraffe trophy hunt




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Justice for Cats Shot to Death by Officials at Texas State Park

36230 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: Leadership of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Garner State Park

At least 16 cats have been shot to death at Garner State Park in Texas as part of the park’s default “management” strategy, public records documents show.

The documents, obtained by Lady Freethinker via public records request, don’t indicate whether the destroyed cats — shot to death with 0.22 caliber guns — were sick, injured, or acting aggressively.  The documents also don’t indicate whether the specific cats gunned down had proven histories of killing wildlife or causing problems for park visitors, or whether they were killed simply for existing within the park.

Discharge reports note only that five cats were shot to death in 2015 and that three cats and eight cats were killed in January and December 2021, respectively.

A park visitor who reached out to park staff in November 2021 described the feral cats she spotted as “well fed” and “used to people,” and noted they “could easily be rescued and adopted.” She also offered her assistance in humanely trapping and rehoming the cats.

But park staff moved forward with the shootings – while actively attempting to conceal the killings from the public.

Eight of the 11 killings in 2021 took place when the park was closed, with the park official noting “no one was aware” of his shooting the cats. The park’s approved 2022 control plan notes staff should attempt to lure animals needing lethally “managed” to non-public areas of the park, while interagency emails show park staff encouraging other staff to not make the park’s control plan accessible unless specifically requested in order to avoid “public outcry.”

Killing cats should never be an agency’s first – or only – resort. Garner State Park and all Texas State Parks must make a whole-hearted effort to find solutions that protect native wildlife without killing cats as a default.

Sign our petition urging TPWD and Garner State Park to put together a working group to conduct formal studies and counts on the parks’ feral cat colonies, assiduously search for and identify possible non-lethal solutions, and actively and persistently work with rescuers and volunteer organizations to safely and humanely relocate and re-home potentially adoptable cats.

Then read Lady Freethinker’s full story here.

Garner State Park killings

(Courtesy Texas Park and Wildlife Department, highlights Lady Freethinker)

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Petition: Wolverines Are Dying Out

30521 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and FWS Director Martha Williams

Wolverines – fascinating, elusive, and intelligent animals who raise their cubs in snow dens – could soon face extinction if the federal government continues to deny them protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Experts estimate that only 250 to 300 of the amazing wild animals remain in the United States, living out solitary lives in the outreaches of mountainous terrain in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. 

Human-caused threats, including habitat loss, decreasing snowpack, and trapping, already have all but destroyed their populations. 

Now, climate change is posing an ever-increasing danger, with experts saying that warming temperatures could force wolverines to stake out winter recreation areas favored by humans and thus lead to conflicts.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has listed wolverines as a “species of most concern,” a designation reserved for critically imperiled species. 

The federal government also acknowledged the plight of wolverines by listing them as “threatened” in 2013, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed to re-evaluate their status.

But in 2020, the FWS backed away from that assessment — an action that sparked conservation groups to file a federal complaint and a judge to recently order a re-evaluation of whether they deserve to be classified under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Thanks to that ruling, wolverines are now listed as a “candidate species” while the FWS conducts their review, over the next 18 months. For the time being, federal agencies are now required to consider the impact of any proposed projects on wolverines’ habitats or livelihoods.

But it’s not enough. These endangered animals must be given federal protections before we lose them forever. 

Sign our petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expeditiously review wolverines’ status and afford them the federal protections that their dwindling numbers – and scientific evidence – show they deserve.

Wolverine




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Justice for Sick, Skinny Dog Abandoned in Locked Crate

37284 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

A tiny, neglected white and gray Maltese cowered in a locked crate outside of a gas station in Florida before caring rescuers discovered him and rushed him off to urgent care, according to CBS12 News. 

Surveillance cameras captured a man walking up to the gas station on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and abandoning the dog without any food or water in the imprisoning cage, according to photos taken by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO).

The act of intentionally abandoning a helpless dog– locked in a cage, without sustenance or any guarantee that someone would rescue the innocent animal – is horrific. But the rescue now caring for the dog, whom they’ve now named Lester, also reported he came to them in bad shape from neglect.

Lester’s condition required “urgent” care, according to the Barky Pines Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, which is caring for him.  He arrived with a heart murmur, severe dental disease, cataracts and was “extremely skinny, ” according to a Facebook post from the rescue.

He also might be suffering from canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD), also known as “kennel cough,” the rescue said. 

No innocent animal should suffer the way Lester has. This act of intentional abandonment and likely ongoing, chronic neglect must be treated with the severity it deserves. 

Sign our petition urging Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to thoroughly investigate this crime and forward any applicable charges onto a prosecutor. 

Anyone with information about this crime should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

Lester the abandoned dog




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