Jan 8, 2014 7:38 PM by Matt Prichard
If you live in Calhan the sound of lions roaring, and tigers chuffing is pretty common. Serenity Springs Wildlife Center calls it home, but if animal protection group PETA has their way things are about to fall silent.
"It's not typical to see such a consistent, chronic record. Even their own records show that one out of every three animals has died over the last five years," said PETA spokeswoman, Delcianna Winders.
The group claims the center violated the animal welfare act by letting kids hold 10-day-old cubs. But Serenity Springs begs to differ.
"We have a zoological license and an exhibitors license with the USDA, and there's no regulations on what age you can and cannot handle the cubs," said Director of Operations at Serenity Springs, Julie Walker.
So which is right? The USDA says that there is no age limit for handling young animals, but does require that it not be excessive and that it have the best interest of the animals in mind. The agency also added that no matter the complaint they still have to investigate.
"We take all complaints seriously. Whether it's PETA or Jim down the street. If somebody lets us know that someone is violating the Animal Welfare Act, we look into it," said United States Department of Agriculture spokeswoman, Tanya Espinosa.
But with a stack of nearly two hundred inspection reports in their hand, PETA says they won't be giving up this fight any time soon.
"The history is there. It shows the history of abuse and neglect, and the purpose of course is to help these animals get to a better place so they get the help that they need," said Winders.
But Serenity Springs says PETA should be focusing on animals that actually need their help.
"Do something positive. Don't sit on the Internet and talk bad about people, or say things that are incorrect. Go out and do something yourself that's positive," said Walker.
The USDA will be conducting an investigation on the wildlife center and we will update you as details become available on this story.