A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection at Franklin Drive Thru Safari in Franklin, Texas, revealed more evidence of undocumented wildlife trafficking.
Franklin Drive Thru Safari and East Texas Zoo and Gator Park in Grand Saline, Texas, are both owned by Jason Clay. Clay obtained ownership of East Texas Zoo and Gator Park after trafficking wildlife for the roadside zoo, according to Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
Clay uses his two roadside zoos as holding areas for animals that he sells across the country, often at exotic animal auctions, to canned hunting facilities and to other roadside zoos.
Both of Clay’s roadside zoos have been cited with a combined total of 27 USDA violations and an Official Warning in the past year, records indicate. Read more about the issues at the two Texas roadside zoos:
The USDA requires licensed facilities to keep records for animals that are acquired or disposed of so that they can ensure the humane care, treatment and transportation of regulated species.
Clay has repeatedly been cited for failing to keep records for his animals.
In June 2021, the USDA found that acquisition records for more than 143 animals and disposition records for 73 animals were missing from Franklin Drive Thru Safari.
In August 2021, the USDA found that acquisition records for 21 animals and disposition records for 40 animals were missing from East Texas Zoo and Gator Park.
In September 2021, the USDA found that acquisition records for 15 animals and disposition records for 42 animals were missing from Franklin Drive Thru Safari.
In March 2022, the USDA found that acquisition records for 28 animals and disposition records for 20 animals were missing from Franklin Drive Thru Safari.
The missing records account for a combined total of 207 animals that Clay has acquired and 175 animals that he has disposed of in the past year without documentation.
In January 2022, ALDF filed a complaint demanding that the USDA revoke Clay’s license to operate his roadside zoos.
“Clay’s inadequate care of animals exhibited under his license has resulted in violations of both the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act,” ALDF wrote in their complaint.
ALDF said that drastic fluctuations in the number and type of animals kept at East Texas Zoo and Franklin Drive Thru Safari suggest that Clay is continuing to sell regulated animals without the required permits, which are activities not authorized under his USDA license.
Download Franklin Drive Thru Safari's March 2022 USDA Inspection Report: