For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Prospect, Ohio – Following a complaint from PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked notorious wild-animal dealer Craig Kokas’ federal license, permanently banning him from dealing animals regulated by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Kokas, who does business as Kokas Exotics and confined 366 animals at his facility as of June, racked up an alleged 113 violations of the AWA in just over a year.
According to reports, during a single visit an inspector found at least 22 animals in critical need of veterinary care, including seven minks with open wounds, alpacas with fleece so matted that their health couldn’t be evaluated, and a baby raccoon with a bloody stump in place of her missing foot. Over the last several years, inspectors repeatedly documented that dozens of animals were sick and injured, including a wallaby so ill that he couldn’t lift his head; animals were housed in outdoor enclosures with no protection from the elements; animals engaged in abnormal behavior that indicated “pain, psychological stress, or poor welfare”; animals were undernourished; and animals were confined with no water and drank voraciously—even to the point of vomiting—when water was provided.
“Animals in Craig Kokas’ care have been denied the most basic necessities for years, and revoking his federal license is the first step toward shutting down this hellhole for good,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “Now PETA is calling on Kokas to surrender all his suffering animals to reputable facilities where they can finally get the care they desperately need.”
Reports also noted that numerous enclosures were in disrepair, with holes and sharp points that could injure the animals; feces were piled up as high as a half-foot inside and under many enclosures; food was in unsealed containers and exposed to mold; fencing was inadequate and allowed deer and foxes to escape; and trash and junk were accumulated in piles throughout the facility.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.