Kaufman, Texas — Following years of complaints lodged by PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has permanently revoked the license of notorious Kaufman, Texas–based big-cat exhibitor Marcus Cook, who does business as ZooCats, Inc. Cook’s abysmal history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act includes repeatedly endangering the lives of animals and the public, keeping animals in enclosures covered with feces and urine, using an electric prod on a tiger, and repeatedly failing to provide veterinary care and adequate nutrition to tiger and lion cubs, even when the animals were emaciated or injured.
“The suffering and deaths of big cats that Cook caused can never be undone, but by revoking his license, the USDA has made sure that no more animals will suffer at this man’s hands,” says PETA Director Delcianna Winders. “Cook’s case confirms that animal exhibitors will stop at nothing to make a buck, including endangering the public.”
The following are only a few examples of Cook’s sordid history with big cats:
- In 2010, the USDA cited Cook for inadequate veterinary care after a tiger died while delivering cubs. Other tigers gave birth to multiple stillborn cubs.
- In early 2009, the USDA took the rare action of seizing a lion and two tigers who were starving. Four months later, the agency seized three sick white lions, two of whom were underweight and had open sores.
- In 2006, a worker at Cook’s facility had his ear ripped off and sustained injuries that required 2,000 stitches after being attacked by a tiger. In 2005, a tiger cub exhibited by Cook at a car dealership bit a woman.
- In 2003, the USDA cited Cook for disciplining a tiger with an electric prod, causing young animals trauma and harm, and allowing unsupervised public contact with dangerous exotic animals.