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Wisconsin's Animal Entertainments cited for Illinois zebra escape incident

Animal Entertainments owns Timbavati Wildlife Park and Shamba Safari and supplies animals to Goebbert's Farm.

Animal Entertainments, located in Neshkoro, WI, has been cited three times in the past three months for several dangerous incidents involving their animals.

Animal Entertainments is owned by Matt Schoebel and is the parent company for Timbavati Wildlife Park in Wisconsin Dells, WI; Shamba Safari in Neshkoro, WI; and for Wildlife Limited, a traveling petting zoo that also hosts pig races, pony rides and camel rides.

Schoebel also operates the Camel Towing Company, also called CTC rides.

Schoebel has been lobbying for the passage of SB 347/AB 341, a Wisconsin "roadside zoo bill" that would weaken regulations on exotic animals at U.S. Department of Agriculture Class C licensed facilities and would remove state oversight at his facilities. The bill passed the Senate in June and it was scheduled for an Assembly Public Hearing in October.

The USDA inspected Timbavati Wildlife Park on Aug. 25, 2021, and cited Animal Entertainments for a July incident involving a visitor who was able to reach over the barrier of a prairie dog enclosure and was bitten on the finger hard enough that the bite broke the skin.

A prairie dog bit a roadside zoo visitor in July 2021 at Timbavati Wildlife Park in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

On Oct. 3, 2021, two zebras that Animal Entertainments supplied to Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch escaped. The zebra’s gate had been left open and the building doors were open at the time, according to the USDA inspection report.

Two zebras escaped from Goebert's Pumpkin Farm in October, 2021. The zebras are owned by Animal Entertainments.

The zebras went off the facility grounds and crossed a state highway several times. News reports indicate that several police agencies were involved in the pursuit of the zebras. Pumpkin patch and zoo employees were able to capture the zebras about two hours later.

Just three days after the zebra escape incident, Schoebel was expected to testify at the Wisconsin Committee on Agriculture public hearing in support of AB 341 relating to captive wildlife in facilities holding a USDA exhibitor license. The hearing was abruptly cancelled and it has not been rescheduled.

On Oct. 21, Animal Entertainments was cited with two non critical violations for the zebra escape incident and for allowing the public to feed and interact with the giraffe they supplied to Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch with no attendant present. The inspection report notes that the facility employs a giraffe attendant on weekends, but not during the week.

This is the second time Animal Entertainments has been cited for failing to have an attendant at the giraffe exhibit at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch. In 2018, a giraffe reached over its enclosure fence and picked up a child car seat and dropped it, according to the USDA inspection report. The inspector observed visitors inside the giraffe barn feeding the giraffe carrots, petting the giraffe on the head and taking photos of the giraffe with their phones without an attendant present. Animal Entertainments received a non critical violation for the incident.

Animal Entertainments’ Timbavati Wildlife Park location operates year-round, while Shamba Safari and Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch operate seasonally and are currently closed.


Animal Entertainments 2018 USDA inspection report:

2016082569307563_Complete (4)
Download PDF • 21KB

Animal Entertainments August 2021 USDA inspection report:

Download PDF • 79KB

Animal Entertainments October 2021 USDA inspection report:

Download PDF • 238KB


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