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Waccatee Zoo Settles PETA Lawsuit, Agrees Not to Exploit Animals in Future

For Immediate Release:
August 24, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – A lawsuit brought by PETA and concerned citizens against notorious roadside outfit Waccatee Zoo has reached a settlement, resulting in the permanent closure of the facility and bans on its operators from the following:

  • Owning or exhibiting wild or exotic animals
  • Breeding domestic animals or exploiting them for profit
  • Working or volunteering at other roadside zoos

The settlement comes exactly three months after PETA rescued nine captive animals from Waccatee who were then transferred to The Wild Animal Refuge in Colorado. There, the two rescued bears from Waccatee will soon exit veterinary supervision to enjoy their spacious and naturalistic new home, and the rescued llama and emus now roam freely with other animals and receive a nutritious diet and expert veterinary care.

“This victory blocks Waccatee’s operators from ever again mistreating wild animals as they did for decades,” says PETA General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is delighted to see the survivors thriving in their new sanctuary home and will continue to ask everyone to help us advocate for all animals still trapped in roadside zoos by never patronizing such operations.”

PETA and its co-plaintiffs’ lawsuit under the federal Endangered Species Act and South Carolina’s public nuisance law alleged that Waccatee confined and exhibited more than 460 animals in conditions in which they were deprived of appropriate veterinary care and other necessities—chronic neglect that caused animals to suffer and led to the death of an endangered tiger named Lila. About five months after filing the lawsuit, PETA learned that Waccatee was secretly transferring animals out of the facility and filed an emergency motion to prohibit further transfers.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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