WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — Allegations of abuse and injuries are made against an Oklahoma exotic animal park.
This week the GW Animal Park in Wynnewood is under scrutiny by the Humane Society of the United States.
The undercover investigation claims the park is abusing animals, providing improper care and engaging in reckless breeding.
The outspoken park owner argues the Humane Society simply has a political agenda to close his zoo and others like it.
“The Humane Society doesn’t want you to own these animals. Plain and simple,” park owner Joe Schreibvogel said.
Getting up close with 170 big cats; that’s the appeal of the GW Exotic Animal Park.
The owner said he’ll die before anyone takes away those animals.
“Am I scared? Hell no. Is this worth dying over? Yeah,” Schreibvogel said.
Joe can be seen in one undercover video smacking one tiger.
Another video shows a park employee punching a big cat.
A third shows a young boy scratched by a tiger cub.
“The video of the boy being scratched is the only incident this park has ever had of anybody getting scratched,” Schreibvogel said.
Joe believes the videos are a set up by the Humane Society to discredit his park and pass tougher laws regulating ownership of exotic animals.
“Joe likes to say those things because he can’t defend his bad practices, so he tries to divert attention,” Cynthia Armstrong said, with the Humane Society of the United States. “I mean, what’s going on there is not good.”
Armstrong points out the animal park his a history of alleged problems.
It’s currently under investigation by the USDA after the deaths of 23 tiger cubs and has been fined in the past for safety violations.
For now, the park is legal and licensed by the federal government.
“I’m inspected by five agencies, anytime they want. Nothing wrong is going on here,” Schreibvogel said.
The Human Society of the United States is different from the Humane Society of Oklahoma.
Joe said he believes the national society is little more than a lobbying organization that doesn’t actually shelter animals.