Photo and video evidence shows shady animal dealer Morgan Machnik of Premier Exotics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, mistreating animals and Roadside Zoo News is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate.
In May 2022, a witness said Machnik was scratched by a serval named Zuri and in response she threw Zuri to the floor. The force of impact broke Zuri’s leg. About a month later, Zuri was taken to a veterinarian where her leg was placed in a cast.
Machnik reportedly did not take Zuri to any of the required follow-up appointments. Zuri subsequently died.
The witness said Machnik was repeatedly abusive to the servals and other wildcats in her possession. The witness supplied video evidence, which the witness said is blurry due to being deleted and restored. One video shows Machnik choking a serval named Mufasa while holding his legs.
Mufasa is heard audibly growling in the video and appears to be in distress. His ears are back, he is vocalizing in terror and at the end of the video he appears to go limp, which would be a typical response to having your breathing restricted by a person’s hand.
The witness said that Machnik choked the wildcats on multiple occasions, but only one of the occasions was captured in the footage. In another video, Machnik is seen throwing a serval down and then smacking him twice while gripping his neck.
“He just sprayed all over,” Machnik is heard saying in the video, indicating her abusive treatment of the serval is punishment for the wildcat exhibiting behaviors that come naturally to him.
A second witness said that in June or July 2022 they saw Machnik throw a serval across a room.
Machnik has a history of flaunting USDA regulations by using her mother’s address as the address of her licensed business, all while keeping her exotic animals at unlicensed locations that do not meet the minimal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
Read more about Machnik here:
Machnik is currently renting an apartment in Milwaukee, which is the third unlicensed address she has kept her animals at in the past year, despite Roadside Zoo News’ repeated attempts to notify the USDA of her current address.
A screenshot of a text message supplied by Machnik indicates that USDA Inspector Dawn Barksdale is aware of Machnik’s address changes, but makes no effort to inspect these locations.
Had Barksdale inspected the New Berlin location of Premier Exotics upon corresponding with Machnik, she would have found that Machnik had abandoned animals in the basement of the residence.
The witness reports of abuse are not the only alarming issues occuring at Machnik’s facility. In May, an entire litter of serval kittens in Machnik’s care died, after the mother, Nova, became stressed and ate them.
In Sept. Machnik posted on social media that Nova was pregnant again. Nova recently gave birth and all of her kittens reportedly died again after Machnik took them from her to hand raise them.
Machnik has repeatedly sold and shipped servals to states where they’re illegal to keep as pets including Ohio, Utah and California. One witness said they were sold and shipped a serval but did not receive any of the required documents including a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or an import permit.
A third witness said Machnik scammed them out of about $9,000 by selling them a serval that died less than a month after purchase, a bengal that died within weeks of purchase and selling them what was supposed to be a purebred cat, but DNA testing showed it was a mixed breed.
The animals in Machnik’s care are repeatedly put in stressful situations, in unnatural environments, with no way to escape conflict. Machnik is currently keeping a bobcat inside her apartment in a heavily populated city, in violation of both state and federal regulations.
Machnik exhibits the animals while they are not under her direct control. Machnik exhibited a bobcat loose inside a dealership garage with no direct control of the animal. She frequently transports the animals while they are loose in her vehicle, in violation of USDA regulations.
The list of evidence against Machnik and her disreputable business is damning and her cruel mistreatment of animals must be stopped. Roadside Zoo News has repeatedly submitted complaints about Machnik’s mistreatment of animals and the USDA refuses to take action.
Here’s how you can help
Submit a USDA complain by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a suggestion of what to include in your complaint:
Dear USDA inspector,
Please immediately investigate Morgan Machnik, dba “Premier Exotics” (License 35-B-0226) for the abusive handling of a serval that has died, for abusively handling a serval that remains in her possession and for other violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Photographic and video evidence shows that Machnik has repeatedly mistreated her animals, resulting in the death of at least one animal, a serval named Zuri. Machnik’s abusive treatment caused Zuri to break her leg and Machnik’s neglect during Zuri’s recovery may have led to her death.
One video shows Machnik choking a serval and a second video shows Machnik throwing a serval down and then repeatedly hitting him or her. In addition, two litters of serval kittens in Machnik’s possession have died.
The animals in Machnik’s care are repeatedly put in stressful situations, in unnatural environments, with no way to escape conflict. Please inspect Machnik’s current location and exercise the USDA’s authority to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and hold Machnik accountable for all violations occurring. Please confiscate the regulated animals that are at risk in her care.
Thank you for investigating this urgent matter.
You can also report USDA Inspector Dawn Barksdale for failing to investigate and enforce regulations at Premier Exotics. Click here to submit a USDA Office of the Inspector General complaint.
Thank you for being a voice for the animals.