Do Not Hand Over Exotic Animal Refugees to Allegedly Neglectful Caretakers

Target: Jon Tunheim, Prosecuting Attorney for Thurston County, Washington

Goal: Protect sloths and other rescued animals from allegedly neglectful, illegal sanctuary.

Dirty, cramped ‘shelters,’ mice infestations, lack of water: these are the inhumane conditions presented by too many places that label themselves sanctuaries. April, Animal Cruelty Prevention month, began with the rescue of over 100 animals from a New Mexico residence whose owner proudly called herself a rescuer of animals. Authorities also recently seized, among other animals, rabbits, dogs, and cats from the Tails of Courage Animal Rescue in Connecticut. And next month marks a legal showdown between owners of the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center and Sloth Center and the Thurston County, Washington officials who charge the center shirked its responsibility to the exotic animals under its care.

Animals seized in the Washington case reportedly included an anteater, tortoises, lizards, armadillos, and most notably sloths that were to be part of the ZWCC’s “Sloth Sleepover” attraction. Although the center is based in Oregon, they allegedly used a former camera store location in Olympia, Washington as a ‘nursery’ for their sanctuary. Authorities raided the Washington location twice because it was unlicensed. The move served as a vindication for animal rights advocates who have long protested that the ZWCC is placing animals that belong in a rainforest environment in unduly stressful, inhumane conditions.

Ironically, the ZWCC has petitioned to reclaim these animals on the basis that they have special needs and necessitate special care. If these animals were indeed housed in a cramped facility with no permits or regulations, they are much better off in the new sanctuary that now cares for them.

Sign this petition and ensure the legal system punishes those involved in this alleged abuse to the fullest extent. More importantly, help ensure these vulnerable animals never fall victim to irresponsible profiteers again.


Dear Mr. Tunheim,

On social media, leadership of the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center and Sloth Center have complained loudly about rules and regulations involving exotic pets. This action demonstrates a lack of understanding and empathy for the responsibility these individuals hold as self-appointed ‘caretakers.’

In the wake of the raids in their Olympia satellite sanctuary location, ZWCC now seeks renewed ownership of the exotic animals it reportedly so carelessly maintained—unlicensed, unpermitted, and without regard to those much-maligned rules and regulations.

When this case begins trial next month, please take every measure to hold these alleged animal abusers accountable and show that they will not be rewarded for their alleged thoughtless actions with the very victims rescued from their brand of ‘care.’


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Minke Wink

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  1. Derinda Nilsson says:

    Sanctuary Hell!!!! Please protect these animals from evil doers. They deserve so much better.

  2. Incompetent people should not be running a sanctuary! Do not let animals suffer because of stupidity!

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