(MOSCA, Colo.) — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is demanding Colorado Gator Farm shut its doors– alleging repeated animal neglect in a letter sent to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW).
PETA’s request comes after a fire killed most of the park’s rescued snakes, lizards, tortoises, parrots, and cats on Tuesday, April 18.
“Apparently, tragedies associated with poor facility maintenance are a repeat occurrence at this facility,” wrote PETA.
The letter details a 2019 incident where 12 alligators died of pneumonia after being exposed to “extreme cold” when a hot water pipe malfunctioned and “nobody noticed for days.”
A report prepared by reptile experts who visited Colorado Gator Farm accused the park of having poor and unsafe living conditions for its animals. The report listed, “a wounded American Alligator, a snake apparently affected with a fungal infection, [and] a Caiman with a large amount of caseous material along the jawline.”
This report was sent to CPW in January 2021 urging for an investigation.
“But year-over-year, CPW appears to blindly renew its license,” claimed PETA.
A statement from CPW sent to FOX21 News read, “The Colorado Gator Farm is a licensed zoological park. We hate to hear about any kind of incident like this where animals have been harmed in any way.”
CPW provided its required regulations for zoological parks to maintain a license in Colorado. Inspections are conducted to make sure requirements are met, said CPW.
According to PETA, the fire is among a “growing list that demonstrates the inability of the facility’s owner (Jay Young) to comply with [requirements].”
The letter sent to CPW said allowing the facility to remain open would “jeopardize the safety of the remaining animals.” This includes two Nile Crocodiles– a species classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act– among other newly added animals, per PETA.
“These animals must have been in agony as they were engulfed by flames with no means of escape, and it’s up to officials to prevent another crisis at Colorado Gators Wildlife Park,” said PETA Foundation General Counsel Lori Kettler. “PETA is calling on CPW to do its job and stop blindly approving the license year after year for this deathtrap of a roadside zoo.”
In response, the Colorado Gator Farm said it works closely with CPW in resolving any issues and is committed to providing the best care possible for all rescues.
“We spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on veterinary care,” said Colorado Gator Farm. “We have been constantly upgrading our facilities every year as many of our regular visitors can tell you and constant improvement is our mission.”
While the fire has left the Colorado Gator Farm devasted and heartbroken, its caretakers say they still have hundreds of healthy animals to care for.
“Thousands have offered love and support, and urged us to continue,” said Colorado Gator Farm. “We are already getting calls about more animals in need and will take them in as soon as our new facility is ready.”