Feds search for to avert owner of defunct Michigan roadside zoo from exhibiting animals again

BALDWIN TWP, MI — Very last calendar year, federal authorities seized an wounded brown bear from a roadside zoo in northern Michigan. Months later, the zoo’s owner surrendered another bear and many foxes and closed his facility.

Now, the federal govt is trying to find to prohibit the male from ever working a zoo once again, claiming he violated the Animal Welfare Act.

The U.S. Section of Agriculture on Oct. 21 submitted a criticism towards James M. Svoboda, operator of the now-defunct Sunrise Side Mother nature Path and Exotic Park, situated at 1220 N. Kobs Street in Iosco County’s Baldwin Township. The section is looking for to forever revoke Svoboda’s license and reduce him from foreseeable future exhibition of animals.

The grievance outlines many violations Svoboda engaged in for the duration of his many years working the zoo, numerous of them stating he did not have good veterinary treatment for his menagerie. In the summer months of 2021, Svoboda failed to adequately treatment for an extremely slender African lion named Damba and an obese bobcat by, in aspect, leaving feces in their enclosures.

Brown bear Grizzy hangs out by the fence of his cage at Sunrise Side Exotic Animals and Character Walk, 1220 N. Kobs Road in Baldwin Township in the summertime of 2014. (Yfat Yossifor | MLive.com)Yfat Yossifor | MLive.com

For the 12 months and a 50 % that Svoboda did not have an attending veterinarian, his brown bear Grizzy formulated a wound in excess of its still left eye that grew to be ulcerated and necrotic, the grievance states. As a end result, the federal government served him a Observe of Intent to Confiscate Grizzy on July 23, 2021. Svoboda refused to indicator the observe and authorities seized Grizzy the very same day.

What grew to become of Grizzy right after he was confiscated by the authorities has not been made publicly offered, in spite of Freedom of Data Act requests remaining submitted.

The month subsequent Grizzy’s seizure, Svoboda voluntarily terminated his USDA license and ceased functioning his residence as a zoo. In September 2021, he relinquished ownership legal rights to three foxes and a black bear named Dolly, an act facilitated by Folks for the Ethical Remedy of Animals, or PETA. He also agreed to by no means yet again have wild or unique animals.

Svoboda explained to MLive in July 2021 he experienced organized for Damba, the lion, to be taken in by a different zoo. Damba was positioned in this other Michigan zoo in December 2021 and was the final unique animal at Svoboda’s site.

Dolly and the foxes had been moved to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Kennesburg, Colorado. The sanctuary has two areas in Colorado and a 3rd in Texas, comprising much more than 11,000 acres in between the a few websites. Its staff members care for more than 650 lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, all of which have been rescued from unlawful or abusive scenarios.

Svoboda’s zoo beforehand garnered headlines in July 2014 when a visiting woman’s finger was bitten by Damba the lion. The USDA issued the park a few citations as a consequence.

Svoboda entered into a settlement agreement, necessitating him to pay a $1,950 penalty.

In 9 USDA inspection stories from Nov. 6, 2014, to Nov. 25, 2019 — the latter date becoming the most new prior to the July 2021, inspection — Svoboda’s zoo obtained zero direct and seven non-important violations.

Browse far more:

Online video launched of black bear, foxes relocated from Michigan roadside zoo to Colorado animal sanctuary

Black bear, foxes acquired by PETA from defunct Michigan roadside zoo, moved to Colorado sanctuary

Brown bear seized by feds at defunct Northern Michigan roadside zoo

Iosco County pair with menagerie of unique animals disputes woman’s assert of currently being attacked by African lion

Iosco County roadside zoo issued 3 citations by USDA just after lion injures visitor’s finger