Ulcerative lesions were found on the ears of two Patagonian cavies and three Aoudad sheep were lame, a federal inspector found during a visit to Waccatee Zoo in Myrtle Beach, SC, last month.
One of the Aoudads was so lame that it was unable to walk and it was crawling along the ground instead of walking upright, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector documented in her report. Two others were refusing to put weight on their forelimbs.
The inspector found flies swarming around the ears of the cavies, as the animals constantly swatted and rubbed to offset the irritation and discomfort. Fresh blood was present on the left ear of one of the cavies, according to the USDA report.
Other complaints included the handling of animals. The inspector found the public was able to interact with goats, llama, zebu, sheep, camel and deer with no attendant present which “increases the risk of injury to patrons and/or animals,” according to the report.
A 30-foot section of the zebra enclosure fencing had loose and broken poles and a 10-foot section of the primary enclosure housing the peccaries, a hoofed mammal similar to a pig, was no longer vertical and leaned inwards.
Waccatee Zoo is owned by Kathleen Futrell. Futrell was cited with three non-critical violations for the infractions found at the October inspection.
Waccatee Zoo has been in hot water with federal officials in the past year.
In January, the USDA inspector found two adult llamas with overgrown hooves which the inspector said could lead to “pain, discomfort and subsequent lameness.”
In March, Waccatee Zoo confirmed that a well-known tiger named Lila had died at the zoo. Lila had been the subject of a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign after all her fur fell out and she was observed pacing, a sign of psychological distress due to an unnatural environment. PETA had been advocating for Futrell to surrender Lila so the tiger could be placed at an accredited sanctuary.
During a USDA inspection in May, a capuchin monkey escaped from its enclosure. Officials found two Aoudad’s exhibiting signs of lameness.The inspector found the enclosure housing the Aoudads and fallow deer did not have clean drinking water and the only water available to the animals was cloudy and brown with floating clumps on top. The bottom of the water receptacle was filled with “sludge,” according to the USDA report. Waccatee Zoo was cited with two direct violations and one non-critical violation for the issues.
Waccatee Zoo has received a total of 13 federal violations from 2020-2021 but the USDA has failed to take any enforcement action against the roadside zoo.
Waccatee Zoo January 2021 USDA inspection report:
Waccatee Zoo May 2021 USDA inspection report:
Waccatee Zoo October 2021 USDA inspection report: