The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

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The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by RoxasXIII » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:20 pm

The following happened today, February 12, 2011.

My sister, Kari, invited me to go to a place called 'The Tea House On Los Rios' in San Juan Capistrano because we both love tea. On our way there, we saw a sign advertising a petting zoo. After enjoying tea and brunch, we walked around the interesting area, wandering through a huge antiques store and a few random stores. When we walked back toward the car, we decided to check out the petting zoo.

What you first see on your way towards the entrance is an emu, some llamas, a donkey, a couple cows, all of which were closed off from actual entrance into their enclosure, but could still be fed and pet, and some exotic-looking birds, which were in an enclosed and large cage away from actual contact. At the entrance, you can see a horse and pony ride section, goats, and a massive enclosure with a very large amount of rabbits and guinea pigs. Sounds great, right? That's how it looks before you actually enter. There were tons of young children, mostly ranging from about four to eight. Upon seeing the guinea pigs, we decided to go in. We bought two tickets for six dollars each, and a small basket of fresh vegetables and apple pieces for two dollars, totaling fourteen dollars.

The first pen we entered was the guinea pig and rabbit pen. The thing is, not only is there probably over one-hundred total animals, but they were all hiding beneath the benches that bordered all around the inner side of the fence. This place had more people than the rest of the petting zoo. Upon looking around, we found many animals that were so overstimulated, they could barely move. Both species are known to be pretty hard to catch, but when you reached for these animals, they stayed where they were. The kids were picking up the guinea pigs and placing them on the benches. One kid had gathered quite a few of them, which didn't seem to have the strength left to move and stayed where they were place. The noises that didn't come from the children and parents were the squeaks of guinea pigs that were not handled properly.

Once we chose a spot to try to feed some of the guinea pigs and rabbits, things got worse. The animals were all crammed underneath the bench, trying to get away from all of the children. I offered a guinea pig some food, but it did not even try to sniff it. My guinea pig at home will always accept a treat, or at least investigate it. I offered a rabbit a piece of lettuce, which it took, but because it was so overfed, it just sat with the lettuce in its mouth. It stayed like that for at least five minutes before dropping the treat. I carefully picked up a rabbit and put it on my lap. The exhausted animal barely put up a fight, and although it tried to bite me, I could barely feel them. At one point, a dad took a carrot stick and forced it into the mouth of a grey rabbit. He also called the guinea pigs 'gerbils'. A bit later, my sister said we should go to some other animals.

Next to the entrance of that horrible enclosure is an open gift shop and, hidden by a low wooden wall, is a little recuperation pens. What we saw in them was as bad as, if not worse than, the first pen. A chicken missing feathers on her head was hiding in a sideways box. A guinea pig was missing half of its fur, as though it had mange. Another guinea pig was lying on its side, not moving except for breathing. I was worried that it wouldn't make it. Some other guinea pigs and a few rabbits were also in there with similar conditions.

With the veggie basket still full, we walked to the area with the emu, which I went straight towards. Knowing that emus are extremely aggressive, I cautiously offered it a carrot stick, and as the bird put its head down to eat it, I gave it a single quick stroke on the back. It lifted its head and actually growled at me. My sister pet it as well, and it growled at her. It was obvious that this was the least stimulated and fed animal in the whole place because of how terrifying it is. I finished off the carrot sticks on the emu and we went to the next enclosure.

We passed the recuperation area again, and I was slightly relieved to see the guinea pig that wasn't moving to be awake and standing. The other pen in which one could enter was the one with goats and a couple sheep. These goats were extremely overweight, were laying down, and would not accept food, which, like with the guinea pigs and rabbits, is extremely uncharacteristic of domestic goats. There were two goats standing on a slightly raised platform. They accepted a bit of food and I watched as my sister, who doesn't like goats, sat down beside one and rested her arm on its back. The poor thing was panting due to the heat and lack of enough shade. The only source of water is a small bowl about the size of a dog bowl, which is not adequate enough for the amount of goats in there, most of which were too hot and too overfed to actually go over to it, especially because it is in the sun. What happened next was depressing. The goat rubbed her with its head like a sad puppy. It was obviously relieved to be held by someone who was calm and sympathetic. Minutes later, we decided to leave that terrible place.

As we headed back to the car, we seethed with anger and disgust, wearing expressions of shock mixed with rage. The ignorance of the parents was just shameful, and the fact that the staff did nothing to control how the animals were handled made things worse. The place lacked proper care for a majority of its animals. We took a flier advertising birthday parties at that place in order to make sure we had the name of it. My sister will be sending letters to various organizations including PETA and rescue groups. Although we both disagree with PETA, we know that once they're involved, things will go crazy. With any luck, this terrible place will be shut down!

The place is called 'ZOOMARS''.

I apologize if it is against the rules to post something like this.

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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by April » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:29 pm

Hmmm..never heard of it. I know of another Petting Zoo with similar conditions. It's called "Guzoos". I found a baby gunea pig there that was laying on its side, it looked squashed as if someone had stepped on it. It was dead. Most of the animals there have bald spots or gashes on their body. There are these bloodhounds that wonder all over the zoo and most of them have awful gashes on their body.

We had a rabbit named Mocha and we donated it to the petting zoo because we couldn't keep her anymore and no one else wanted her. But the next year we came to see how she was doing, the staff told us a racoon from the wild had gotten into the enclosure and had killed a bunch of rabbits.

At Guzoos you can feed the animals all the bread you want, located in freezers near the entrance. Apparently your not allowed to ride the Shetland ponies but these little kids were riding them anyway.

Idk what it is with Petting zoos...but yeah that sounds terrible :/ Although...it's not really teh staff's fault if the animals are overfed. Animals have a brain too and if they're not hungry they shouldn't eat. And gunea pigs...just everywhere I go guneapigs hide under things so I don't find that surprising in the least. But the goat, and not enough shade...the waterbowl...yeah that's pretty bad
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by RoxasXIII » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:39 pm

The overfeeding of the animals is the fault of the owner(s) of the petting zoo. I forgot to mention that the place was open from 10am to 5pm, and the animals are not rotated between being away from people and in the enclosure.
The problem with the way the guinea pigs and rabbits acted was the fact that they would barely move when you tried to touch one, when healthy animals would try to get away. The over-stimulation of the small animals is incredibly bad for their mental state and it's possible that they can never be rehabilitated.

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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by alethe » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:44 am

That's really terrible! I don't like petting zoos, for this reason. The animals never get real love.


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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by RoxasXIII » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:00 pm

This is the only petting zoo I've seen that was so horrible. I've never seen one where staff don't pay attention and where the animals were so overstimulated, they couldn't move due to exhaustion.
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by Thandi » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:57 pm

How sick and awful, I'm glad that your sister wrote to PETA. Have you recieved a letter back? A notification?
If not, try sending another, this time with pictures.
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by April » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:25 pm

Yeah, has PETA had any response? I'm curiost to what they're response would be
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by RoxasXIII » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:57 am

I don't know about PETA, but she did get a response from an Orange County guinea pig rescue almost immediately. If she does get a response from the OC SPCA, OC Register, and/or PETA, I'll be sure to provide updates.
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by Thandi » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:39 pm

RoxasXIII wrote:I don't know about PETA, but she did get a response from an Orange County guinea pig rescue almost immediately. If she does get a response from the OC SPCA, OC Register, and/or PETA, I'll be sure to provide updates.
Yes, but was any action provided, you know, investigations, contact from the petting zoo?
If it's really as bad as you say it is, then the owners should be put under arrest, not to say that I don't believe you or anything.
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by RoxasXIII » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:20 pm

Yesterday, my sister got a reply from PETA saying to call them. I don't live with her, so I don't know anything more than that.
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Re: The Awful Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano

Post by Thandi » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:28 pm

RoxasXIII wrote:Yesterday, my sister got a reply from PETA saying to call them. I don't live with her, so I don't know anything more than that.
Hmm, well a requested call is better than nothing, I'm guessing that PETA is interested, but wants to have proof.
everything out of the ordinary is considered weird, i try to stay clear of the eathlings and their fears

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