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Waccatee Zoo, dubbed the worst roadside zoo in America, is permanently closed

A tiger named Lila languished at Waccatee Zoo before ultimately dying.

Waccatee Zoological Farm in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is closed and may remain permanently closed.

Waccatee Zoo was dubbed the worst roadside zoo in America in 2020 due to their animal care. A tiger named Lila lost all her fur and incessantly paced her cage until she died last year. (Read more about Lila)

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sued Waccatee Zoo earlier this year for their inhumane treatment of animals. (Read more about the lawsuit)

Waccatee Zoo is owned by Kathleen Futrell and her son Jeff Futrell. Austin Futrell is also named as a party in PETA's lawsuit. Court documents filed last month indicate the zoo's lawyers were attempting to have Jeff and Austin removed from the lawsuit, which PETA strongly opposed. Download the court documents below.

Waccatee's request:

Download PDF • 204KB

PETA's response:

Download PDF • 156KB

Social media posts indicate animals were being moved off the property earlier this week and the zoo sign was removed. Owner Jeff Futrell told News 13 they were closed for remodeling. News 13 wrote that when they asked Jeff if the animals' habitats were impacted by the renovation he was combative.

A social media post made by James Sargent, which has since been deleted, indicates Waccatee Zoo may be closed permanently.

"Waccatee Zoo is closed," Sargent wrote. "They will not be reopening. The owner is retiring and done with fighting the haters."

Waccatee Zoo's U.S. Department of Agriculture license to exhibit animals to the public expires September 12, 2022.

Roadside Zoo News will continue monitoring the situation to determine where the animals are being relocated to.


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