Single Vision, Melrose, FL, has again been cited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Last month, the facility was cited with two non-critical violations.
Single Vision advertises itself as a “Wildlife Sanctuary” on Facebook along with the claim that the roadside zoo is “Protecting Our Vanishing Wild.”
The 10-acre facility makes its money by charging visitors for exclusive access to play with exotic animals, swim with them and take pictures.
Youtube videos show the animals at Single Vision are kept in small enclosures where they pace while waiting for their chance to be given access to a slightly larger central enclosure. The animals appear to be allowed access to the central enclosure on a rotational basis.
The USDA has completed numerous inspections of Single Vision in the past seven years. From 2014-2019, Single Vision was cited with 17 non-critical AWA violations, one critical violation and four teachable moments.
From March 17, 2020-May 14, 2021, Single Vision was given 12 non-critical violations, one direct violation, and one critical violation for the care and treatment of their animals.
USDA inspectors who visited Single Vision in March, 2020, said Single Vision owner Carl Bovard “conducted himself in a threatening manner throughout the inspection,” according to the USDA report. Bovard’s behavior interfered with the inspector’s ability to conduct their inspection.
Bovard wouldn’t allow inspectors to take photographs, which is a crucial part in carrying out their duties, the USDA report said.
“Inspectors experienced argumentative, sarcastic, intimidating, harassing, and aggressive behavior with the licensee,” documents say. “His body language demonstrated an increase in agitation with every observation made by inspectors – he stood cross armed, quivered his lip, and he continuously wrung the neck of a drinking bottle.”
When inspectors again requested to take photographs of the USDA violations at Single Vision, Bovard stated, “No, your inspection is over.”
In Oct. 2020, inspectors again visited Single Vision and cited Bovard for six AWA violations including a direct (repeat) violation for failing to provide the animals with clean and sanitary water.
According to the inspection report, the animals at the roadside zoo only had access to murky brown water that was so filthy that inspectors couldn’t see the bottom of the water receptacles.
Inspectors also documented numerous dilapidated enclosures in such a state of disrepair that they could cause injury to animals.
Another violation was for the facility’s animal food prep area. Inspectors said the area was unsanitary and filled with flies and spiderwebs.
The USDA cited Single Vision for not documenting new animals they had purchased including three pot belly pigs, two adolescent bear cubs, and five fennec fox kits.
Single Vision also failed to document the deaths of a raccoon, kinkajou, prevost squirrel, lynx, lion and cougar.
A USDA inspector tried to visit the facility again in Feb. 2021, but no one was available to give the inspector access to the roadside zoo.
Last month, the USDA inspector completed an inspection and cited Single Vision for two non-critical violations of the AWA.
Inspectors documented enclosures that contained splintered wood and a plastic enrichment barrel that had exposed sharp edges. According to the inspection report, those areas could cause injury to the animals.
Inspectors said 8 animals died in the past seven months and Single Vision failed to document their deaths. The animals that passed away include three serval kits, three fennec fox kits, a ring-tailed lemur and a hybrid lemur.
Those animal’s deaths bring the death toll at Single Vision up to fifteen animals lost in fourteen months.
The USDA inspector documented 74 animals at the May inspection and the roadside zoo has recently obtained several new animals including three puppies, three goats and a silver fox kit.
The facility has also obtained two bear cubs that they’re advertising to be used for pay-to-play cub petting.
Although the USDA has cited Bovard 14 times in 14 months, they appear to be too intimidated by him to take any meaningful action for his ongoing animal welfare violations.
Single Vision USDA Reports from 2020-2021: