WVMA looks into Wisconsin veterinarian in roadside zoo neglect coverup


Every day we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the people who are directly responsible for the animal neglect at roadside zoos are held accountable for their actions. One of those people is Dr. Thomas Young of High Cliff Veterinary Service, and veterinarian for Wisconsin’s now-closed Special Memories Zoo.


Dr. Young took an oath to protect the health and welfare of animals and to prevent and relieve their suffering. Instead, Dr. Young may have directly contributed to their suffering by allegedly covering for Special Memories Zoo’s animal neglect.


Dr. Young was only ever called in by the zoo when an animal was near death. In 2014, a white tiger named Kenni became ill at Special Memories Zoo. The zoo waited a month after Kenni was showing signs of illness before calling Dr. Young, who determined she had pneumonia. Kenni died the next day.


When a camel named Chrissy kept giving birth to stillborn calves, a zookeeper asked Dr. Young why he didn’t tell the zoo to stop breeding her. Dr. Young’s response was, “They pay me too much.”


In 2020, Dr. Young was called in to inspect 18 decaying animals on the Special Memories Zoo property that zookeeper Gretchen Crowe admitted she hadn’t checked on in more than two months. Dr. Young determined the animals died of botulism, a claim he made based on the position the decaying corpses were found in which he referred to as a “sleeping position.”


Dr. Young conducted no medical tests and he failed to explain how the large sulcata tortoise found dead on the property could have died of botulism, since he claimed the botulism was spread through contaminated hay, and presumably the tortoise was consuming a different diet than the goats, sheep and cattle found decaying on the property.


The alleged coverup of animal neglect by Dr. Young directly contributed to the refusal of the Outagamie Sheriff’s Office to recommend animal neglect charges be brought against zookeeper Gretchen Crowe.


Dr. Young also inspected the surviving animals at the horrific roadside zoo, before they were trafficked to other facilities out of state where they will continue to suffer. Dr. Young has failed his oath to protect animals and we sincerely hope the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association seriously investigates our claims and reprimands Dr. Young to the fullest extent possible.


A man who can look at the corpses of animals left to decay for months and find no fault in the caretakers tasked to ensure those animals wellbeing does not deserve to be in a position caring for innocent creatures that have no voice.

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