Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics has been cited with a total of 29 violations of the Animal Welfare Act in a three month period.
Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics is a roadside zoo in Lake City, Michigan, owned by Ryan and April Cicchelli. The USDA has repeatedly found a number of alarming problems at the facility. Read more about past violations:
In January, the Cicchellis hid a cougar from USDA inspectors and lied to inspectors about their acquisition of an otter. Numerous primates and kinkajous were found to be in freezing conditions. An olive baboon had 13 growths on its head but the animal had not received veterinary attention. 22 animals were housed in barns with no lights and endangered ring-tailed lemurs were living in an unsafe dog kennel on concrete floors in a garage infested with mice. A zebra was found with no access to water and when provided with water the zebra drank for 90 seconds.
In response to a Roadside Zoo News article about the January violations, Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue posted on social media that they had requested that the USDA inspect their facility which resulted in the 18 violations.
“Everything was up to standards within a week,” Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue wrote.
USDA records indicate that eight days after the January inspection the USDA again attempted to inspect Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue but no one was available to accompany officials during the inspection process. Ryan told officials he was too far away to allow officials to conduct an inspection and April told officials she would not be returning to the area until the afternoon. Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue was cited with a non-critical violation for the missed inspection.
On February 10 the USDA conducted a focused inspection at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue to determine whether the earlier violations had been corrected. Officials found an olive baboon was still being locked outside during extreme temperatures in order to clean his enclosure. At the time of the inspection the temperature was 28.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Forcing the animal to stay outside during these events can lead to discomfort, suffering, freezing of fingers and toes or other injuries,” the USDA inspector wrote in his report. Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue was cited with a direct violation for the repeat infraction.
Previously, the USDA found that Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue was keeping their cougar cub in their home because they had not built the animal an enclosure. On April 4 the USDA conducted another inspection at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and found that they were now keeping their cougar in the same enclosure as two servals, a species of African wildcat.
“The facility is not licensed to conduct regulated activities with wild/exotic felids,” the USDA inspector wrote. “Comingling of the cougar and two servals with animals intended for exhibit without appropriate approval makes them regulated species.”
The inspector found a goat that was limping and carrying her right front leg. April told the inspector she had already scheduled an appointment to take the goat to a local veterinarian. After speaking with the attending veterinarian, the USDA learned that he was not aware that April had made an appointment to take the goat to a local vet.
“The licensee must get approval from the attending veterinarian to see other veterinarians for animal related issues,” the USDA inspector wrote.
April told the inspector that she had given away a North American river otter to the animal’s sponsor but the USDA inspector found she had not kept records with the name and address of the person she gave the otter to. Maintaining records for animals that are acquired and disposed of is a requirement for roadside zoos licensed under the Animal Welfare Act.
A plywood shelter for two brown lemurs was excessively covered and streaked with a brown organic material. Blankets and a resting platform in a baboon enclosure were smeared with wet and dry feces and the enclosure reeked of urine and feces that the inspector could smell through her mask, according to the inspection report. The enclosure also contained a large accumulation of mouse feces. The resting platform for two rhesus macaques had a large accumulation of smeared feces on the entire surface and built up on the corner of the platform.
A cavy was housed with a red kangaroo with a 5-gallon bucket for a water receptacle but the water was at a level that made it difficult for the cavy to reach it to drink. The inspector asked that a smaller bucket be provided to the cavy for water and the cavy drank for approximately one minute and 30 seconds. April hung the new bucket back on the fence but the inspector noted that she still hung the bucket too high.
“The cavy was having a hard time as the bucket was pressing into its neck and the cavy had to move to the side of the bucket where the edge of the bucket was somewhat lower to access the water easier,” the inspector wrote. She noted that the cavy needed to be provided with a more appropriate water receptacle so that he or she had access to potable water at all times.
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. The inspector noted that if the porcupine were to ingest the calcium with D3 it could have detrimental effects on the animal’s health. If the porcupine were to chew on the electrical cord, it could be injured or killed.
The inspection resulted in one direct violation and seven non-critical violations. On April 19 Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics posted on social media that they were cited with yet another USDA violation. The USDA has not released the April 19 USDA inspection report publicly. However, if the roadside zoo was cited with one violation on April 19 it would bring the total violations found at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue to 29 violations in three months.
Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics April 4, 2022 USDA Inspection Report: