The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Animal Haven Zoo, Weyauwega, WI, with a critical violation of the Animal Welfare Act for allowing a high school student to take a tiger cub that was less than four weeks old to an elementary and high school.
"A male tiger cub that was younger than 4 weeks old at the time was transported by an employee (with permission from the facility) to a classroom for what the facility reports
was for an educational discussion on why big cats don't make good pets," according to the inspection report.
At the June 9, 2021 inspection, Animal Haven Zoo told the inspector that only their employee fed the cub and handled it.
"Public exhibition of young tigers less than 4 weeks old puts them at risk for getting sick," the USDA inspector noted.
Several of the children seen petting the cub were not wearing masks.
"Nondomestic cats of this age do not have a completely developed immune system and are unable to fight off disease and infection," the USDA report said. "Handling of animals must be done as careful as possible in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort."
The inspector said the roadside zoo must protect the cubs by not transporting or exhibiting them until they are more than 28 days old.
Animal Haven Zoo was also cited with a noncritical violation for their records. The inspector noted that there were no records available for two female tiger cubs that were born on April 29, 2021, and then were sent to Shalom Wildlife Zoo, West Bend, WI.
"Correct and complete records must be maintained and available so animal tracing can be done if needed (for example--health tracing)," the inspection report said.
Animal Haven Zoo was ordered to correct their violations from June 9 moving forward.
June 9, 2021 USDA inspection report: