While awaiting a hearing to determine whether the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will revoke April and Ryan Cicchelli’s license to exhibit animals to the public at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics, the Lake City, Michigan, roadside zoo has racked up an additional six violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Here is a timeline illustrating the federal violations occurring at Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics.
10/11/2020 - APHIS witnesses Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics exhibiting exotic animals to the public without a Class C Exhibitor’s license.
5/27/2021 - APHIS cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with an official warning for operating without a license for the October 11, 2020 incident.
6/15/2021 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics obtains a male serval kitten from Morgan Machnik of Premier Exotics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
7/20/2021 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics obtains a female serval kitten from animal dealer James Rienow in Suamico, Wisconsin.
10/4/2021 - APHIS inspects Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics and issues the roadside zoo a Class C license to exhibit animals to the public.
10/22/2021 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics obtains a cougar cub from Leroy Arenson in Belgrade, Montana.
11/15/2021 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics applies to add exotic cats to their APHIS license and to add their home as a licensed location.
1/26/2022 - APHIS conducts a re-license inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with five direct violations, 12 non-critical violations and one critical violation
Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue lied to APHIS inspectors about the cougar living in their home.
The cougar had no enclosure except a small dog crate in a furnace room surrounded by junk.
Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue lied to APHIS inspectors about their acquisition of an otter.
Numerous animals at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue were found to be in freezing conditions including one olive baboon, two rhesus macaques and five kinkajous.
A zebra was found with no access to water and when provided with water the zebra drank for 90 seconds.
Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue was providing inadequate diets with insufficient calcium to their wildcats.
Ryan and April Cicchelli lack adequate experience and knowledge of the species of animals that they own.
An olive baboon at Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue had 13 growths on its head but the animal’s condition had not been communicated to a veterinarian.
22 animals were housed in barns with no lights, preventing thorough examination of the animals or their enclosures.
Endangered ring tailed lemurs were living in an unsafe dog kennel on concrete floors in a garage infested with mice.
2/3/2022 - APHIS attempts to conduct an inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with one non-critical violation because no one was available to allow them to complete the inspection.
2/10/2022 - APHIS conducts a focused inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with one direct violation due to an olive baboon that was still being locked outside in freezing conditions while the inside portion of the animal’s enclosure was being cleaned.
3/14/2022 - APHIS denies Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics' re-license application to add exotic cats to their license and to add their home as a licensed location, in substantial part due to the false statements provided to officials during the January 26 inspection.
3/25/2022 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics requests an administrative hearing to contest the denial.
4/4/2022 - APHIS conducts an inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with seven non-critical violations and one direct violation.
Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics was commingling their cougar and two servals with animals intended for exhibit without appropriate approval.
The inspector found a goat that was limping and carrying her right front leg that hadn’t received veterinary attention.
There were no records for a North American river otter that April said she gave away.
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. 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 five gallon bucket for a water receptacle and the water was at a level that made it difficult for the cavy to reach it to drink. When provided with water, 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 for the cavy to comfortably drink.
An African crested porcupine that was just under two-months-old was being kept in the Cicchelli’s house in a laundry room with hazards including a jar of calcium spilled on the floor and an electrical cord that the animal had access to.
4/19/2022 - APHIS conducts an inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with one non-critical violation for housing a vervet monkey in a dog kennel with only 4.3 square feet of space for up to 14 hours a day.
5/17/2022 - A judge upholds the denial of Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics' request to have exotic cats added to their USDA license and orders April and Ryan Cicchelli to cease and desist from violating the Animal Welfare Act.
5/23/2022 - Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics sends an email to officials stating they won’t be appealing the judge’s ruling and will instead re-apply for an APHIS license once the required one year waiting period is up.
7/14/2022 - APHIS conducts an inspection at Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics and cites them with seven non-critical violations.
One goat and one alpaca had overgrown hooves.
One goat had a two inch lump on its left side and a pot belly pig had moderate brown discharge from both eyes but neither animal had received veterinary attention.
April and Ryan acquired two wolf pups in June 2022 with no experience working with wolves.
April and Ryan were tying the wolf pups to a tree and allowing the public to interact with them with insufficient barriers between the animals and the public.
April and Ryan were allowing the public to interact with the wolf pups with no direct control or supervision.
Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics had submitted a request to house guinea pigs outside which was denied. APHIS officials found April and Ryan were housing guinea pigs outside.
One water buffalo and one cow did not have dry access to shelter and were required to walk through puddles of mud and water to reach the shelter entrance.
8/12/2022 - USDA files a show cause order in an effort to terminate Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics license to exhibit animals to the public. The basis for termination references the repeated false and fraudulent statements the Cicchellis made to APHIS officials.
9/13/2022 - APHIS attempts to conduct an inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with one non-critical violation because no one was available to allow them to complete the inspection.
9/19/2022 - APHIS conducts an inspection and cites Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics with four non-critical violations and one critical violation.
A water buffalo had hooves overgrown and curling in on both front feet and one rear foot which could cause pain, injury and gait abnormality.
APHIS officials received a report from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that in August a pot bellied pig bit a child at Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics. There was no public barrier and the attendant was not able to prevent the child from being bit.
An outdoor enclosure housing ring tailed lemurs was composed of wire with four inch by two inch holes that a lemur was observed sticking his or her entire head and neck through. The inspector noted that the enclosure must be constructed to prevent injury or death to the animals.
Two timber wolves were being housed in an outdoor enclosure of woven wire with holes that ranged in size up to six inches by six inches. The wolves were observed sticking their entire heads through the fencing, which the USDA noted does not protect the animals from injury or adequately contain the animals.
Two pieces of decaying deer carcass that were attracting flies and had a strong odor were located in a fox enclosure. The inspector noted the animals must be fed a diet that is wholesome, palatable and free from contamination.
Over the past year since Cicchelli Second Chance Exotics has obtained a USDA license, they’ve been cited with a total of 42 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. A judge will determine whether the Cicchellis’ license to exhibit animals to the public will be terminated, which would shut down their roadside zoo.