Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Wilmington’s Tregembo Animal Park issued more federal violations for injured tiger, cat circled by flies

Tregembo Animal Park was cited for not providing vet care to Sasha, a white tiger, for an ear wound. PETA said it reported the issue to USDA and shared the above photo with Port City Daily. (Courtesy PETA)

WILMINGTON — Tregembo Animal Park, the roadside zoo attracting tourists en route to Pleasure Island, has been found in violation of more animal welfare laws. This time federal inspectors discovered an injured tiger and a cat surrounded by flies during their site visit.

In its mission to shut down the facility, PETA shared the report with media outlets Thursday morning in a press release.

RELATED: PETA erects billboard near Tregembo, plans weekend protest outside roadside zoo

According to the report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency handed down the Animal Welfare Act citations during a routine Oct. 4 inspection. The white tiger was noted with a 1.5-inch-long open wound on her left ear. PETA reportedly made a complaint to USDA about the large cat, Sasha, previously. According to the inspection documents, the staff told inspectors “they fly spray her ears regularly” but had yet to contact a vet.

A camel was noticed with a shut eye as well. Owner Sherry Tregembo said hay dust was caught in his eye and was washed out with an ointment. The camel had moderate tear staining below the eye. During the inspection, the vet was called and treatment began.

A serval cat was also seen surrounded by flies, biting at them and flicking its ears. The report states there were no breaches in the skin, but the licensee was given a citation for sanitation.

“Excessive amounts of flies can cause distress and injury to an animal,” the inspector wrote.

The park was ordered to establish a program to control pests by Oct. 11. However, the Tregembo owner said corrections were addressed the same day. Extra fly control measures were also put in place before USDA left.

USDA noted in the report that regular contact with a vet and daily observation of the animals are necessary for “minimizing pain and distress.”

Tregembo’s latest citation was issued in February for a 17-year-old, pot-bellied pig who was lame in both rear legs and lacking veterinary care.

The park passed two subsequent USDA inspections –– on May 5, 2021 and July 13, 2021 –– without issues.

However, a list of citations accumulated by PETA dates back to as early as 2003. The roadside zoo was cited for failing to bring in veterinary care for a leopard with a hurt tail in 2017 and a bear that was going blind from facial lesions in 2015.

“Tregembo is an animal prison that receives citations for the same neglect of animals over and over again,” PETA Foundation Associate Director for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler stated in the release. “PETA asks that the public stay away from this cruel roadside zoo, which doesn’t properly care for its animal inmates.”

PETA has called the roadside zoo one of the worst in the country. In August, the activist group towered a billboard near Tregembo Animal Park to deter families from pulling into the attraction. With a picture of a caged monkey, the sign urges motorists to avoid the attraction.

Widely viewed as a radical organization, PETA has also been on the receiving end of some criticism for euthanizing thousands of animals. It led Virginia lawmakers to pass a bill in 2015 that defined animal shelters as a place where the goal is to find them permanent homes, not to die. PETA argues their euthanasia services offer a gentle passing rather than a drawn-out, painful death for the animals.

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Alexandria Sands Williams
Alexandria Sands Williams is a journalist covering the City of Wilmington, education and film. Before Port City Daily, she spent a year in the quaint city of Southport reporting for the award-winning State Port Pilot. Prior to that, she wrote for several Charlotte publications while studying at UNC Charlotte. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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