Thursday, February 25, 2010

Letter to the editor

This is the letter I sent to the editor of my home paper regarding the previous post:

Do NOT support Corley’s Exotic Animal exhibit at the Hutchinson Mall. The event is described as a fundraiser to support the animals and raise awareness of unwanted exotic animals. Stop right there – these ARE tomorrow’s unwanted animals.

These baby animals must be constantly replaced as they grow into dangerous wild animals, so back at the park, adult exotics are caged up giving birth to the next. This is not an animal rescue, this is animal abuse! What rescue would put their baby animals in a truck and haul them all over the country for display in shopping malls?

I had never heard of Corley’s Exotic Animals before today, but when I saw the notice in the Leader, I immediately contacted a legitimate rescue organization based here in Minnesota, the Wildcat Sanctuary, to see if they knew more about this situation. I received an incredible amount of information accumulated from across the country.

Perhaps most telling to me was the following “Joe Schreibvogel is the president of the infamous G. W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, OK. He has been slapped with violations and even fined $25,000 which, in the world of USDA animal violation fines, is a huge amount. At any one time, he has housed more than 170 big cats and 1,400 animals on 16 acres.”

Read that again and imagine 170 big cats and 1400 animals on 16 acres. There is nothing humane about that; it is not a rescue. Please do not support this travesty and complain to the Hutchinson Mall that they brought these people to our town.

Protest Corley's Exotic Animal "Rescue"

I was horrified to find this article in my hometown newspaper, the Hutchinson Leader, Hutchinson, MN:

Corley’s Exotic Animal Rescue is coming to the Hutchinson Mall

Submitted by Kay Johnson on February 23, 2010 - 9:20am.

A special fundraiser will take place Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Hutchinson Mall, featuring Corley’s Exotic Animal Rescue, run by Beth Corley of G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. Corley is in Hutchinson to raise awareness for the need to help unwanted exotic animals within the United States. Donations are the only way they care for the animals.

While at the Hutchinson Mall, the foundation will host an all-day exhibit featuring tigers, lions and other exotic animals. For a small donation the public may have their picture taken with the babies or even get the opportunity to interact with the babies. What makes this exhibit unique is that children may play with the cubs under the supervision of one of Corley’s trainers. Kids have a chance to have contact with a baby tiger. The experience is fun and educational as well.

For more information, call Amy Forcier, Hutchinson Mall office at 320-587-5956.

I immediately wrote to Tammy Thies at the Wildcat Sanctuary to find out if she knew anything about the organization and I instantly got a ton of bad news from her:

We’ve been writing malls all over the country about this place, but they keep hiring him.

Tammy Thies
PO Box 314
Sandstone, MN 55072
(320) 245-6871

From: J.H.
Subject: My letter to GGP - corporate owner of 200 regional malls

Would you please join me in writing to GGP – corporate owner of 200 regional malls throughout the country? They are based in Chicago and they own Southland Mall, the latest venue for G.W. Exotic’s newest traveling magic show billed under the name “Awakening Production.”

If we don’t strike at the root – the corporate owner of all of these malls – we’ll never be able to stop this man’s abuse. By the time the local malls find out about him, he’s moved on and even the resulting bad publicity is yesterday’s news for them. They don’t care since he’s long gone.

Won’t you take a minute today to politely ask them to refrain from allowing these exhibits in any of their malls? The facts are listed below for you in my letter.

You can simply cut and paste all the GGP corporate officers and newspapers from my list below:;;;robert.michaels@GGP.COM;;;;;;;

GGP Chairman of the Board:

John Bucksbaum Phone: 312-604-2029 (direct line)
191 N. Wacker Dr. Suite 1500 312-621-0590 (main office number) Extension 244
Chicago, IL 60606 Fax: 312-621-0984 (not private)
Subject: What is your stand on corporate responsibility?

This week, G.W. Exotics was able to convince another large corporation – GGP - that their traveling animal show was just an innocent display of wild animals. Your Southland Mall played host to this charade, this time G. W. Exotics billing itself as “Awakening Production.”

First, let me say that I am not a member of PETA. I am just a mother/grandmother who happens to be a senior keeper at an accredited rescue facility caring for big cats - just like those at your mall - who have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, bred nearly to death in order to supply these “displays.” The govt. doesn’t step in to save them, we as ordinary citizens are called upon to do it. These animals are ultimately dumped when they are too large to handle and too expensive to care for. Legislation and regulations are scant and enforcement is rare since this falls very low in priority. Budget cuts have resulted in too few inspectors to begin to make a dent in curtailing abuse like this.

If you take the time to investigate and delve deeper, you will learn that this isn’t an innocent, family fun exhibit GGP is hiring. There is a dangerous, abusive, and well-documented past to this exhibitor, Joe Schreibvogel. In fact, he has become a pariah in the animal protection world. Why? Because he is a major supplier to the illegal trade of exotic animals in this country.

At your Southland Mall, he showed up with 7 baby exotic lions, tigers, and kangaroos. What do you think will happen to these animals once they are too large for his mall “human encounters?” Their shelf life is very short. More and more are bred constantly to fuel his business while those that grow too big are disposed of. Since his shows are only a couple of days, by the time the public, or the malls who have hired him, find out about his notorious past (under many different business names), he has moved on. Quite like the old-time snake oil salesmen.

But these are not the old days. This is a new world of corporate responsibility. Recently, when the Price Chopper chain of stores found out a display like this was taking place at an event they were sponsoring, they yanked their sponsorship. They stepped up and did the right thing. Will GGP do what is right and humane and help stop this abuse, too? Is it really worth having your image tarnished by this man’s sordid reputation? Wherever he goes, controversy and bad press follows (see articles below).

Your corporation has booked this man in the future at many of your malls. Attached and below, are the facts, legal proceedings, and numerous articles written about Joe Schreibvogel to prove his reputation as an animal abuser. GGP has qualified for the “Companies That Care Honor Roll” for 3 years. Will you be a good corporate citizen and “walk the talk?” Please show that you truly care by cancelling any future shows by this exhibitor at any of your malls. How can you not?

Lutz, FL

Cc: CBS – Chicago
NBC – Chicago
ABC – Chicago
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Sun Times

Exotic Joe is actually Joe Schreibvogel, President of the infamous G. W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, OK. His USDA license is License 73-C-0139 and his USDA violation file is attached (please take the time to read it since it lists many of his animal cruelty violations). He has been slapped with violations and even fined $25,000 which, in the world of USDA animal violation fines, is a huge amount. At any one time, he has housed more than 170 big cats and 1,400 animals on 16 acres. I am a senior keeper at an accredited big cat rescue sanctuary. We currently provide a home for about 125 rescued wildcats on 42 acres and feel we are maxed out, given the space we have. With 1,570 animals crammed onto 16 acres at G. W. Exotic, you can imagine the poor quality of life and lack of care these animals must endure.

If you check out Joe Schreibvogel’s website at you will see a website filled with people holding, handling, posing with baby exotic animals. This begs the question, “Where do all these animals wind up when they are adults?” Though he’ll claim he doesn’t breed or sell, the evidence below is quite the contrary. In addition, what quality of life do these animals suffer when they are trucked all over the country for these “magic” shows?

What is commonly referred to as “puppy mills” is what Schredibvogel runs, the difference being he churns out dangerous carnivores. He is a major supplier fueling the exotic animal trade. It’s very easy for him to book gigs and travel with these babies since he ties his act to “protecting endangered species” - or whatever the buzzword of the day is. But, make no mistake, this is a modern day snake oil salesman making money off the backs of these innocent animals with more and more being churned through his “park.” All the while, he is exposing the public to a tremendous amount of danger.

Isn’t it time our state and national representatives enact legislation to protect the general public from this type of deceptive practice and eliminate the public safety risk and the animal abuse it encourages? The maulings and killings become more and more prevalent. Haley Hilderbrand, a high school senior was killed when she posed with a tiger for a photo only a couple of years ago and yet the namesake bill sponsored after her death still lingers in Congress…..Julie Hanan, Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, FL


The following quotes are from G.W. Exotic Animal Park:

• “… I do not in any way breed, sell, ship out, lease, or loan out any of my animals …”
—[J1], letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, December 6, 2002
• “[A]ll of our cats are fixed or split up so they can’t breed, … we do not buy, sell, or trade any animal….”
—[J1], e-mail message to PETA, August 30, 2003
• “I never sell or donate to anyone.”
—[J1], letter to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Renewal of Commercial Wildlife Breeders License, November 21, 2001

Contradictory incidents since 2001:
• GW sold one male and two female lion cubs for $1,500 each to the Amarillo Zoo in Texas. All three were born at GW in September 2005 and were declawed before they were 1 month old. Parents of the cubs were all GW residents who were allowed to breed.
• TV news reported an astounding 18 new tiger cubs and one very pregnant tiger at GW. The pregnant tiger, Sasha, was GW’s first rescued, and never spayed, tiger.
• A female cougar, born at GW on March 14, 2000, was shipped to the Seoul Grand Park Zoo in the Republic of Korea.
• A cougar, born at GW, was shipped to the Sofia Municipal Zoo in Bulgaria.
• Two cougars born at GW were shipped to the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand.
• GW reportedly tried to sell an infant baboon named Savannah, born April 24, 2003, to an undercover activist who visited the facility.
• GW sent a lion cub to Capital of Texas Zoo (Cedar Creek, Texas). The cub was then loaned to Bobbie Colorado, who appears weekly on an Austin TV station. While in the custody of Bobbie Colorado, the lion cub was killed by a dog.
• GW transferred a tiger named Blondy to the Hillcrest Zoo, a roadside zoo in Clovis, New Mexico, that has been repeatedly cited for a multitude of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide sufficient food to three zebras who all died within a two-day period.
• In 2003, GW obtained four snakes, four flying squirrels, two sugar gliders, and 10 alligators from Strictly Reptiles, a Florida wholesale distributor of reptiles.
• GW has purchased animals including a bear cub, a tiger cub, miniature horses, and birds from exotic animal auctions, such as Lolli Bros., which states on its Web site: “From Apes to Zebra—We sell it all!! In addition to ‘live’ animal sales, we also offer a phenomenal selection of excellent of Taxidermy [sic] at each sale.”

Despite vociferous criticism from animal rights groups, traveling showman says he offers a once-in-a-life experience. Video shows tigers being hit with the butt of a rifle, a goat with a horn ripped off exposing its brain, USDA lawsuit with 14 infractions
The Daily Sentinel
Friday, April 24, 2009

Lions, tigers and bears took over the University Mall earlier this week, and tonight residents are promised a free anti-drug and alcohol magic show at 6 p.m. in the middle of the mall concourse, courtesy of none other than Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel.

Schreibvogel is the ring leader of a traveling zoo and magic show that has performed for audiences young and old across the country for several years. Schreibvogel was to perform several magic shows earlier this week, but his tour bus broke down, leaving him stranded at his animal park in Wynnewood, Okla, After chartering a bus and starting an emergency fund-raising effort to fix the bus, Schreibvogel was scheduled to arrive in Nacogdoches sometime Friday afternoon. He said he will take the stage tonight before heading back out of town Sunday.

Preceding Schreibvogel's arrival was an 18-wheeler trailer carrying baby lions, bears and tigers that have been on exhibit at the mall all week. For a $25 donation, mall patrons can take pictures and visit with the animals for eight minutes. Schreibvogel owns and operates a non-profit animal ranch in Oklahoma called the G.W. Exotic Animal Park. The park was founded in 1997 and named in honor of his brother, Garold, who was killed by a drunk driver in Corsicana, Texas. Schreibvogel says his brother was passionate about wildlife, and he now uses his traveling magic act to build awareness among young people about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and bullying. He will open and close tonight's show with songs he wrote about his father's inability to express love to his dying son and how he was forced to take his brother, who spent a week in a coma due to his injuries, off life support.

Schreibvogel says he is on a constant hunt for donor money to help keep his park, which also houses various volunteers, afloat. He says he takes no salary, and the only people on his payroll are the commercial truck drivers he uses for the traveling baby animal show and to pick up meat for the animals. He also mentions that he used his inheritance from his grandfather to keep the park running and it's 1,400 animals fed, which he says takes about $60,000 a month.

It's because of that large sum of money that Schreibvogel says he is "forced" to breed young lions and tigers and take them out on the road. Despite his claim that he gives the baby lions and tigers to zoos and other accredited preserves, it is an action that animal rights groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals oppose vehemently.

According to Lisa Wathne, who is a captive exotic animal specialist with PETA, said, "Joe Schreibvogel is directly contributing to the exotic-animal trade that he says he is against. But the truth of the matter is, he is putting a lot of animals into that trade. It's despicable."

But Schreibvogel claims that patrons to his wildlife park cannot sustain the costs of operation, and Internet scams have dissuaded people from donation through his Web site. On the site, he talks about a crusade to save "dying malls across America" and describes his traveling act as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the over 2 million people he meets a year. "We help the malls, and they help us by letting us use the space for free.

I meet 2-year-old people and 95-year-old people that have a life dream of being able to go see a tiger in real life. So, here they have the option to sit in a cage, get educated, fall in love with and get a personal aspect of a baby tiger that otherwise they would have never seen in their life," Schreibvogel says.

But it's that chance encounter that James Bias, spokesperson for the SPCA of Texas, said is a misrepresentation of true wildlife advocacy. "You know you're taking wild animals, regardless of how they've been raised, and they are still wild and not domesticated, and putting them on wheels and trucking them around. That's just not what these animals were geared to do, and, of course, you're increasing their stress levels and the potential for abuse," Bias said. "For somebody to claim that this is an opportunity for the community to see wild animals up close, this usually doesn't represent what their normal environment is. You're not going to see someone who's holding a tiger in a shopping mall realize that these animals deserve dignity. I mean this is the least dignified way for animals to be cared for."

In fact, Schreibvogel, his animal park and his traveling animal show have all been fined and cited for numerous infractions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for enforcing federal animal welfare laws. In January 2006, the USDA filed a lawsuit against Schreibvogel, and he along with his park were put on 18 months of probation for 14 infractions, including poor living conditions for the animals, unsanitary conditions and a general lack of proper care for the animals by untrained staff, the suit said. Schreibvogel was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and has since been taken off probation. Schreibvogel says the USDA "targeted" him after he was cited for not having "a readily identifiable employee" within proximity to some rescued baby deer. In a moment of passion, Schreibvogel says he threw the USDA inspector who issued the citation out of the park a move he now says he regrets. Schreibvogel says he is now in compliance with the USDA and provided The Daily Sentinel with copies of 11 inspection reports dated from November 2006 to January 2009 reflecting his claim, with only one infraction concerning proper recording keeping.

Schreibvogel also claims that a YouTube video made during his probation period in 2006 by the PETA group was a "frame job," and the undercover PETA agent used sympathetic friends to incriminate the park. The video depicts park volunteers debating whether or not to properly euthanize a lame horse. They argue that using chemicals on the animal would prevent them from feeding the meat to some of the other animals, and that a gunshot to the head was more appropriate. The video also shows an animal handler hitting tigers with the butt of a rifle and a goat with a horn ripped off exposing its brain. The video says the goat was left injured for days before being shot and fed to the big cats at the park. Another portion of the video has an audio recording of one park volunteer explaining how easy it is doctor the "feed report," because inspectors cannot prove you did not feed the animals on any given day. The park volunteer goes on to acknowledge the park was in violation of the law when the park ran out of meat and did not feed the animals for three or four days. The volunteer also says they are only allowed to fast the animals for a single day, according to U.S Department of Agriculture regulations. "They can't go back, unless they've got video cameras out here, and prove that we didn't feed them that day. There's no way they can go back and prove we didn't feed them," the volunteer says to the undercover PETA agent. Other parts of the video show park staff kicking and swatting animals and shows the erratic behavior of some of the captive tigers and bears, describing them as having gone "cage crazy" from lack of psychological stimulus in their tight confinements.

Schreibvogel says that all but one of the employees in the video had been fired for other infractions and that the USDA had cleared him of any wrongdoing after an investigation into the claims made in the video.

Schreibvogel says that the animals he rescues come from private owners, and due to newly imposed restrictions in cities across the nation on exotic-animal ownership in the past decade, he has taken in dozens of animals like tigers and chimpanzees.

Summing up his long-lived feud with PETA, Schreibvogel says, "They believe the animals are better off being put to sleep rather than being put in a cage. Unfortunately, I don't think that's fair."

In response, Wathne maintains PETA just wants Schreibvogel to change his business plan, saying, "We don't want to euthanize his animals. What we would like to see Joe do is stop breeding animals ... stop bringing them into an already overcrowded world and into a situation where he has to dump the animals after he's done using them, and provide the animals he has with appropriate space, food and shelter. If he were operating as a true sanctuary, we would have no concerns with him. And, in fact, we would support him just as we support numerous other sanctuaries across the country." Vote for this story!


Friday, June 29, 2007 12:36 AM CDT

Times Correspondent

MICHIGAN CITY - An exhibition of exotic baby animals and magic acts opened this week at Marquette Mall, despite objections from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Mystical Magic of the Endangered arrived Wednesday at the mall. Presented by G.W. Exotic Animal Foundation, the show will continue through Sunday.

PETA said it conducted a covert investigation after learning of complaints filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The formal complaints against G.W. Exotic Animal Foundation in Wynnewood, Okla., were for violations including failure to provide adequate care and failure to minimize
safety risk to the public while handling the animals.

According to the USDA Consent Decision and Order docket, foundation owner Joe Schreibvogel was fined $25,000 and told to cease and desist from 14 violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Schreibvogel told Marquette Mall manager Laura Tubbs that he has paid the fine and presented her with recent inspection reports.

"We certainly do background checks on any of the acts," Tubbs said. "Their whole organization is a positive message geared toward the children, including anti-drug and not drinking and driving."

Michigan City Planner John Pugh said the city approves of special exhibits at Marquette Mall.

"We're not involved in it because it is considered a permitted use as part of Marquette Mall's permanent shopping zoning," he said about the animal exhibit. "It's permissible, and they're considered accessory uses such as car shows (and other) special events."

On the Web
G.W. Exotic Animal Foundation:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Minnesota Puppy Mill Bill by the Numbers

Minnesota Puppy Mill Bill by the Numbers
Fiscal Note Gives State Financial Rationale for Regulating Commercial Breeders

by Mike Fry

We have all seen the graphic pictures of the cruelty taking place in Minnesota puppy and kitten mills. The images should provide enough rationale for the State to being regulating commercial breeders. However, a new report prepared by the Board of Animal Health with input from the Department of Revenue suggests it would also good business for Minnesota to do so.

After years animal welfare advocates lobbying the State to begin regulating large-scale, commercial breeders of dogs and cat, a new fiscal note relating to House File 253 (the "puppy mill bill"), was recently released. The conclusion of the report is that the State is losing money because it has not regulated this industry. At least $1.3 million per year in uncollected sales tax revenue to be exact.

Though the bill does not directly address tax issues, it is believed that it provides tools that could be used by the Department of Revenue to bring more dog and cat breeders into compliance with Minnesota sales tax laws.

Furthermore, the report, which was drafted at the request of the bill's author Representative Tillberry(DFL), states clearly that if the bill becomes law it will create a new program at the Board of Animal Health which will itself be budget-neutral and fully self-funding. Additionally, by doing a little simple math using the numbers in the fiscal note, it is easy to see that the fees charged to commercial breeders to pay for the program will have virtually no impact on their businesses.

By computing the typical fee for commercial breeders at different sizes and dividing it by the numbers of puppies produced each year, it is easy to see that the fees to pay for this program amount to between $1 and $2 per puppy or kitten sold, costs that will easily be passed on to the purchasers of those animals.

This new report clearly demonstrates the following points:
o The bill is budget-neutral, in that it is fully self-funding and requires no revenue from the State.
o The bill will help the State to generate an additional $1.3 million in tax revenue that is currently going uncollected.
o The inspection and licensing program put forward in the bill would result in no net cost to the breeders because the minimal $1 - $2 fee per puppy or kitten sold can easily be passed on to buyers.

Bill Status

In 2009, House File 253 and its companion bill, Senate File 7, were introduced in their respective houses. House File 253 was passed in the Public Safety and Civil Justice committees. It was then tabled (stalled) in the House Ag Committee. Senate File 7 was tabled in the Senate Ag Committee.

Take Action

Contact the members of these committees and ask that they pass House File 253 and Senate File 7. Because they have already had public hearings on these bills, additional hearings should not be necessary. Ask that they read the new fiscal note, and then do the right thing by passing the bills out of their committees.

Related Links

General MN Puppy Mill Info

House File 253

Fiscal Note

Representative Tillberry

Senator Betzold

House Ag Committee

Senate Ag Committee

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Minnesota Puppy/Kitten Mill Bill

Public Forum on Puppy/Kitten Mill Bill

Senator Don Betzold and Representative Tom Tillberry to discuss Puppy & Kitten Mill Bill at public forum

Where: AHS Auditorium 845 Meadow Lane North, Golden Valley (map)
When: Sat, Feb 27th, 2010, 11am - 12pm

Are you interested in learning more about the effort to regulate dog and cat breeders in Minnesota to stop inhumane practices in the industry? Join us on Saturday, February 27, 2010, for a public information session on the Dog and Cat Breeder Bill (S.F. 7/H.F. 253), also known as the Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill, with Minnesota Senator Don Betzold and Minnesota Representative Tom Tillberry who authored and introduced the bill in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

Learn firsthand about the bill and its importance to the welfare of thousands of neglected animals in the State of Minnesota.

Understand how requiring licensing and inspections of breeding facilities in the state will protect animals from breeders engaging in inhumane breeding practices. Arm yourself with information on how you can be a voice for animals and let others know what they can do.

Reservations are not required, but seating is limited. For more information, please visit Animal Folks MN or email .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Indoor exercise for dogs

Fixit: Indoor parks for pooches offer wintertime exercise

By KAREN YOUSO, Star Tribune
Last update: February 2, 2010 - 11:24 AM

Q My dog can't take the cold, and I can't take the icy sidewalks. Is there a place where I can walk my dog indoors?

A Yes, said Ali Jarvis, founder of, a website for dog-related doings in the Twin cities. Here are Jarvis' suggestions.

For on-leash or off-leash:

• Dog City Dog Park, a new membership-based indoor/outdoor dog park in New Hope. Indoor area is 27,000 square feet and includes areas for big and small dogs, with tunnels, balls and ropes. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and includes a lap area for on-leash walking; 10 laps equal 1 mile.

For off-leash:

• Dog Day at the Metrodome. The final two events of the season are Thursday and March 4, with off-leash play in the concourse from 5 to 9 p.m. The cost is $1 per dog, but you can park free (enter at Gate B). Dogs must be licensed and tagged. Minneapolis Animal Care & Control sells licenses on-site. For more information, contact Adam Kocinski at adam@podiumsports or call 651-238-2651.

• Indoor play groups. They have various dates, times and locations. Each has a unique spin, so check out a few before taking your pick: Just Paws Puppy Training's Mini Paws (, the Canine Coach's Playtime (, Pampered Pooch Playground's Tiny Tails (pamperedpoochplay and Fresh Air Training's Pint-Sized Play (