ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The feds have cited a southeastern New Mexico zoo for several violations. The citations spring from an inspection requested by PETA. The USDA cited the Spring River Zoo in Roswell for a number of issues including the health of a longhorn steer.
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“The agency cited the roadside zoo for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act despite the zoo’s promise three years ago to make necessary improvements for animal welfare,” said Rebecca Smudzinski, a spokesperson from PETA.
The citation states a steer had overgrown hooves; that steer is nearly 20 years old. The zoo says they couldn’t provide the care needed for the steer in the time frame the USDA gave.
“Given the age of the animal, we couldn’t find a veterinarian that would be willing to immobilize the animal, we did not have restraint devices to physically restrain the animal for hoof trimming but even given the heat in the summer, these are things we don’t normally do. So the criteria the USDA gave us to resolve that situation in that timeline, left us no other option but to relocate the animal,” said John Wright, the zoo’s director.
Escapes made by some of the animals from their enclosures were also on the list for citations. Earlier this year the zoo was holding a bear from the Alamogordo Zoo but it escaped but was safely returned. The zoo also had a beaver that escaped its enclosure last year but has not been found.
Roswell residents say the zoo should be doing more for these animals and that should be what’s most important.
“The animals look bored, like not happy when I have gone to the zoo. They just look they look miserable,” said one Roswell resident.
The longhorn steer has been transferred to a local caretaker. The citations are not fines but rather an initial warning to fix the problems.