Records provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) indicate that 50 animals have disappeared from DeYoung Zoo in Wallace, MI, in the past 14 months.
A comparison of DeYoung Zoo’s USDA animal inventory in September 2020 and November 2021 indicates the following animals are missing from the roadside zoo:
1 brown bear
1 black spider monkey
4 North American river otters
4 white-tailed deer
2 Virginia opossums
2 Japanese macaques
2 Sulawesi crested macaques
1 Prevost's squirrel
1 mountain coati
5 New Guinea singing dogs
MDARD keeps track of all exotic animals that are being moved into or out of the state of Michigan. They do not document exotic animal transfers occurring within the state.
Documents provided by MDARD indicate that two of the unaccounted for snow macaques were sold to another zoo in Minnesota. The records also show that several animals arrived at DeYoung Zoo between February 2021 and the October 2021 USDA inspection, but those animals are not reflected on the USDA animal inventory, indicating the animals are also missing. Those animals include:
1 snow leopard
2 red foxes
Certificates of Veterinary Inspection provided by MDARD illustrate the following timeline:
On October 8, 2020, John Weickert of Weickert’s Wildlife in Dent, MN, sends a 6-week-old bat eared fox to DeYoung Zoo. The reason for the animal transfer was listed as “other.”
On October 26, 2020, DeYoung Zoo sells three 6-month-old timber wolves named Loki, Herah and Fraya, to Menominee Park Zoo in Oshkosh, WI.
On October 28, 2020, Menominee Park Zoo sends a wolf named Hula to DeYoung Zoo for “adoption.”
On November 3, 2020, Menominee Park Zoo sends a wolf named Oki to DeYoung Zoo for “adoption.”
On February 4, 2021, Weickert’s Wildlife sends one 5-month-old snow leopard to DeYoung Zoo. The purpose of the movement was listed as “other.”
On March 17, 2021, Matt Schoebel of Animal Entertainments in Neshkoro, WI, sells two zebras to DeYoung Zoo. Animal Entertainments is the parent company to Timbavati Wildlife Park in Wisconsin Dells, WI, and Shamba Safari in Neshkoro, WI. Animal Entertainments also supplies animals to Goebbert's Farm in Pingree Grove, IL. In October 2021, two of Animal Entertainment's zebras escaped from Goebbert's Farm and were later recaptured.
On April 5, 2021, Mike Hicks of Capital of Texas Zoo in Cedar Creek, TX, sends one 4-month-old dingo to DeYoung Zoo for “exhibition.”
On May 7, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 3-month-old black bear named Smokey to Bear Country USA in Rapid City, SD.
On May 18, 2021, Weickert’s Wildlife sends two 4-week-old red foxes, one 4-week-old coyote and one 4-week-old wolf to DeYoung Zoo. The purpose of the animal transfer was listed as “other.”
On May 24, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 6-month-old kangaroo to Jim Rienow of Dream Catchers Exotics LLC in Suamico, WI.
On June 2, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 1-year-old dingo to Dusty Ebersviller of Trowbridge Creek Zoo in Vergas, MN.
On June 24, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells two 9-year-old snow macaques to Trowbridge Creek Zoo.
On July 1, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 5-week-old snow macaque to Trowbridge Creek Zoo.
On July 30, 2021, Tracie Perry of Midwest Monkeys and Exotics in Lebanon, MN, sends a 7-month-old kangaroo to DeYoung Zoo for "exhibition"; the kangaroo’s origin address is listed as 706 East SR 114 Acron, IN, 46910. A Google search indicates that address does not exist.
On August 3, 2021, Weickert’s Wildlife sends a 4-week-old mountain lion to DeYoung Zoo. The purpose of the transfer is listed as “other.”
On August 5, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 1-year-old provost squirrel to Trowbridge Creek Zoo.
On September 28, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells two Southern tamanduas to Jeannene Christ of “Electric Bug LLC” which appears to be a misspelling of “The Eclectic Bug LLC” in Athol, ID, which operates as Big Red’s Barn. An October 27, 2021, USDA inspection of The Eclectic Bug LLC indicated there were no tamanduas at the facility.
On September 28, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 3-month-old black spider monkey to Tyler Isham, a private owner who lives in a residential neighborhood in Indianapolis, IN.
On September 29, 2021, DeYoung Zoo sells a 9-month-old kangaroo to Donnie Miller of Debbie Doolittle’s Animal Experience in Tacoma, WA. This kangaroo may be the same kangaroo that arrived at DeYoung Zoo in July 2021 for “exhibition.” In August 2021, Debbie Doolittles was fined $7,500 for repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
The records indicate that DeYoung Zoo often separates nursing baby animals from their mothers to sell them including a 5-week-old snow macaque, a 3-month-old spider monkey, a 3-month-old black bear and a 6-month-old kangaroo.
From March-April of 2020, DeYoung Zoo obtained 31 animals from Wisconsin’s now-closed Special Memories Zoo for “exhibition,” documents indicate. By September 2020, 12 of those animals had disappeared from DeYoung Zoo. The missing animals include:
1 black leopard
2 snow macaques
1 ring tailed lemur
1 Tonkean macaque
1 hamadryas baboon
2 vervet monkeys
USDA records indicate that the two lions that DeYoung Zoo obtained from Special Memories Zoo in 2020 have now also disappeared. The missing lions, tigers and black leopard are endangered species and their transportation across state lines for the purpose of a sale is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.
DeYoung Zoo is owned by Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer. In July 2021, a Roadside Zoo News representative visited the facility and asked Cramer what happened to the missing Special Memories Zoo animals. Cramer refused to answer and became irate. She called the sheriff’s department, escorted the representative off the zoo property, and then jumped on the hood of the representative’s vehicle while screaming about “animal rights activists.”
Cramer requested that the sheriff’s department charge the representative with trespassing for the incident. After reviewing video footage of Cramer jumping on the representative’s vehicle, the sheriff’s department declined to press charges.
Roadside Zoo News has been unable to locate any records documenting the location of the 50 animals that disappeared from DeYoung Zoo in the past 14 months, or documenting the location of the 12 Special Memories Zoo animals that are unaccounted for. The lack of records indicates that the animals were either sold or transferred within the state of Michigan, illegally sold or transferred out of the state with no documentation, or the animals are deceased.
DeYoung Zoo 2020 USDA inspection report:
DeYoung Zoo 2021 USDA inspection report: