After repeatedly violating the Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cancelled the license for Noah’s Park Retreat in Goshen, New York.
Noah’s Park Retreat has been cited with 18 USDA violations in the past year. In April 2021, a wallaby named Rocco escaped from his enclosure and was spotted hopping through the town of Goshen. Police later captured Rocco and returned him to the roadside zoo.
In March 2022, multiple gates were left open at Noah’s Park Retreat and wallabies and Patagonian cavies escaped from their enclosure. Two of the wallabies escaped from the property. One of the wallabies was later found deceased. The second wallaby, Rocco, has never been recovered.
Other violations include jagged wire in enclosures which animals could get cut on, rusty enclosures, food prep areas that were unsanitary, insufficient ventilation, a buildup of grime and debris in multiple animal enclosures, exposed wire mesh and holes in a porcupine’s enclosure floor. Noah's Park Retreat was also repeatedly cited for failing to have a perimeter fence to act as a secondary containment for animals.
A new licensing requirement indicates roadside zoos have three inspections to come into compliance in order for their license to be renewed. Documents show the USDA found violations at all three of the re-licensing inspections for Noah’s Park Retreat in 2022, indicating the agency cannot renew the facility’s license to exhibit animals to the public.
“Your existing license is expired and a new license will not be issued,” the inspector wrote in the report. “Conducting regulated activities without a valid USDA license is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act.”
The USDA license for Noah’s Park Retreat is currently listed as cancelled. Noah’s Park Retreat will no longer be allowed to exhibit animals to the public, essentially shutting down their roadside zoo. Noah's Park Retreat will be allowed to keep their animals, however, the animals just won't be subject to federal regulations.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Public Information Officer Lori Severino issued a statement regarding Noah's Park Retreat:
"Noah’s Park does not have a DEC license and thus is not authorized to keep any DEC-regulated mammals in New York State, either for exhibition or as pets," she said. "Further, without a USDA license the facility cannot exhibit any mammals."
Noah's Park Retreat April 2022 violation report: