SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – PETA is taking aim at a family-owned petting zoo in the Poconos. The well-known animal rights organization doesn’t think The Pocono Snake and Animal Farm is properly caring for its animals. The business is responding to those allegations.
PETA says a concerned visitor submitted photos and video of two animals at The Pocono Snake and Animal Farm. According to PETA, a representative has never contacted or visited the business, but had a veterinarian review the footage.
PETA says it received documentation of a bear that was struggling to walk. The organization also reviewed photos of a squirrel monkey that was allegedly laying nearly motionless with a bald, bloody tail.
“Our main concern is the welfare of the animals,” Delcianna Winders, PETA’s Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, told Eyewitness News during a phone interview.
Pocono Snake and Animal Farm’s zookeeper calls the allegations ‘outrageous’. Jon Lowris says the elderly squirrel monkey was probably sleeping, but not bleeding.
“What she had done that day was, unbelievably, rub strawberry on herself,” says Jon Lowris, owner & zookeeper, Pocono Snake and Animal Farm.
As for the alleged limping bear… “I don’t know if the bear maybe has a slight injury that day, but the bear is quite mobile,” Lowris adds.
Lowris says many of the animals and reptiles on display were saved from euthanasia. They were donated, because previous owners were unable to properly care for their exotic pets.
He adds, “we would always do all we could for our animals, we love our animals.”
PETA says it sent the photos to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2016, and received a response nearly two years later.
“When they finally did respond, they blacked out all of the substantive information, refusing to let us know how they handled the complaint,” Winders explains.
PETA claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ‘repeatedly cited the Pocono Snake and Animal Farm’. Those online records have been removed from public view.
Lowris says, “there are things on inspection reports that you look at and say, ‘okay, we got to improve this or improve that’. But, we were never cited.”
PETA says, in 2016, the USDA removed thousands of inspection reports showing violations against the businesses it regulates.
Winders adds, “the law doesn’t allow for you to withhold basic information about how animals are treated.”
Owners of The Pocono Snake and Animal Farm say a veterinarian regularly checks the animals. They are open for business as usual.
Eyewitness News reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A representative says The Pocono Snake and Animal Farm’s inspection documents are not publicly available because it’s considered ‘a homestead business’.