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Illinois Animal Exhibitor Facing Animal Act Violations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a complaint against Woody's Menagerie in Mulberry Grove, alleging numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a complaint against Woody's Menagerie in Mulberry Grove, alleging numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
August 24, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An Illinois animal exhibitor is facing numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a complaint against the owners of Woody's Menagerie in Mulberry Grove, a traveling educational wildlife exhibit featuring exotic animals.

Lisa Wathne, a captive exotic animal specialist with the Humane Society of the United States, says the business has been cited for egregious violations.

"Ill and injured animals have gone for months at a time without any veterinary care,” she points out. “Animals have been kept in cages that are so small they can have difficulty standing up. They've been out in frigid winter conditions without adequate shelter. The list is long and quite horrific."

According to the complaint, the respondents made false statements to inspectors regarding animals and did not provide access for inspection.

The owner, Gregg Woody, has said publicly that he will defend his reputation of caring for animals to anyone, and that he only has received a letter of allegations.

Animals involved in the complaint include goats, bears, tigers and a cougar.

Wathne adds that the owner's actions also resulted in the deaths of some animals.

"They acquire a lot of animals from other exhibitors and apparently slaughter some of those animals presumably for the meat trade,” she states. “So there are numerous references within the USDA files of Woody slaughtering bears and African lions."

Woody's Menagerie could face fines, license suspension or revocation.

Wathne maintains the owner should no longer be allowed to exhibit animals.

"We hope that Woody's license will be revoked and that he'll be put out of business,” she says. “So this will certainly bring an end to the misery and suffering that he has caused for many animals."


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL