Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics cited again; records show their animals aren't rescued


April Cicchelli holds a vervet monkey. Photo credit: Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics.

Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics, a purported “animal rescue” in Lake City, Michigan, is not rescuing their animals at all, records show, and they've now been cited 29 times in three months for mistreating their animals.


Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue is a roadside zoo owned by Ryan and April Cicchelli. Their most recent violation arose from an April 19, 2022 U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection.


According to the inspection report, the inspector found that Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue had recently acquired a vervet, a species of primate, that April was working on introducing to her male vervets. While April was at her roadside zoo, she apparently allowed the female vervet to interact with the male vervets in their enclosure. When April left her roadside zoo, she would lock the vervet in a metal dog kennel that was 30 inches long, 19 inches wide and 22 inches tall. The small kennel only provided the vervet with 3.96 square feet of space to move around. The vervet was locked in the dog kennel for up to 14 hours a day.



"The licensee must provide an appropriate sized enclosure to ensure the psychological and physical well-being of the non-human primate," the USDA inspector wrote in the report.


Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue has previously been cited for keeping their animals in inadequate enclosures. In January, inspectors learned Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue had obtained a cougar but they had no enclosure for the cougar and it was allowed to roam their house during the day. At night the cougar was locked in a small wire dog crate in a furnace room, according to the inspection report.


In February, the USDA found an African crested porcupine that was just under two-months-old that was being kept in the Cicchelli’s house in a laundry room. There was a jar of calcium with vitamin D3 spilled on the floor and an electrical cord in the porcupine’s makeshift enclosure that the animal had access to.


Read more about Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue's violations:

On May 10, 2022, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue posted on social media that they provide permanent placement for animals from “zoos that closed down, private owners whose situations have changed, rescues and others who we have gotten from other facilities as companions for the animals within our care.”


Photo credits: Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics.


Records indicate that Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue obtained 25 exotic animals from May 2020-October 2021, and none of the animals were rescued.


On May 26, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a chacma baboon from Dwane Aldrige in Lake City, Florida.


  • Aldridge is an exotic animal dealer who regularly advertises on exoticanimalsforsale.net.


On June 9, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased two brown lemurs, one java macaque and one rhesus macaque from Aldridge.


On July 2, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one sulcata tortoise from Aldridge.


On July 2, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one Asian water buffalo from Greg Seifer in North Liberty, Indiana


  • Seifer is an exotic animal dealer who regularly advertises on exoticanimalsforsale.net.


On July 2, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one ringtail lemur from David Kollar in Goshen, Indiana.

  • Kollar owns Casper’s Coin and Jewelry which is the address that the lemur was listed as being sold from.


On July 2, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one 3-month-old ringtail lemur from “Jazz Mattews” at a Dune Drive address in “Azel,” Texas. This may be a misspelling of “Matthews,” “Duane Drive” and “Azle.”

  • The transfer of the endangered baby lemur from Texas to Michigan was listed as a “sale.” The transportation of endangered species across state lines for the purpose of a sale without obtaining a permit from the Secretary of the Interior is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.


On August 4, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one coatimundi from James Rienow in Suamico, Wisconsin.


  • Rienow is an animal dealer who regularly advertises on exoticanimalsforsale.net. In May 2021, Rienow was cited with a critical USDA violation for purchasing and transporting bobcat kittens that were younger than 28-days-old. The bobcats were no longer at his facility in December 2021.


On August 4, 2020, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a red male kangaroo from Rienow.


On January 4, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased two badgers from Rienow.


On January 28, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one olive baboon from Aldridge.


On March 18, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased one wallaby from Tana Norris in Lake City, Florida.


  • Norris is active on exoticanimalsforsale.net and has also made social media comments indicating she has a “friend” who raises exotic animals. Norris is located in Lake City, Florida, the same town as Aldridge. Norris’ friend who breeds exotic animals may be Aldridge.


On April 28, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased two java macaques and three green vervets from Frank Blanco in Homestead, Florida.


  • Blanco is the director of the Historic Walton House wedding venue which is the address that the primates were purchased from. Social media posts indicate the Historic Walton House is quietly exhibiting exotic animals to the public without a USDA license.


On June 24, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a male 16-week-old serval kitten from Morgan Machnik in New Berlin, Wisconsin.


  • Machnik owns Premier Exotic Animals and is a known unethical exotic animal breeder and dealer. Machnik recently began raffling off puppies and kittens. She’s currently operating her roadside zoo illegally at a new location without updating the USDA of the change of address which prevents them from inspecting her animals.


On July 20, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a female 12-week-old serval kitten from Rienow, likely to breed with the serval purchased from Machnik.


On September 15, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased an African crested porcupine from Rienow


On October 6, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a North American river otter from Roo Doo’s Wildlife Park in Greenwold, Arkansas.

  • Roo Doo’s Wildlife Park is a roadside zoo that was cited in June 2021 with an Official Warning for failing to provide veterinary care to 13 animals that died.


On October 22, 2021, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue purchased a cougar cub from Leroy Arneson in Belgrade, Montana

  • The location the cougar was purchased from is Arneson Processing, a butcher shop.


The records indicate that Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue is not rescuing animals and is instead supporting unethical animal breeders, dealers and roadside zoos. Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue recently announced on social media that they will be opening to the public on June 1. Anyone who visits Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue will be supporting an inhumane roadside zoo, not a rescue or sanctuary as they claim.