Sloth’s death at roadside zoo prompts call for cruelty charges


PETA releases inspection report revealing emaciated animal died from blunt force trauma at Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo

On Feb. 6, PETA sent a letter calling on Pierce County Animal Control to investigate Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo, its operator Donald Miller, and all other culpable parties after the death of a young female sloth who was being used for public encounters at the facility – and to charge them with cruelty to animals.  

According to a recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report from Dec. 10, 2019, the sloth, Malia, died in October after falling from a climbing structure. A necropsy found that she was suffering from “severe emaciation, indications of chronic stress, and older bruising to the body wall,” leading the USDA to note that these findings were consistent with mishandling and neglect. PETA points out that the necropsy provides evidence of what appears to be a violation of Washington law, which states that a person is guilty of first-degree animal cruelty when they negligently starve an animal. 

“Any reasonable animal-care facility would notice if an animal were wasting away from starvation,” says PETA Foundation Supervising Veterinarian Dr. Heather Rally. “PETA is calling on Pierce County Animal Control to hold Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo responsible for the neglect that likely played a role in this vulnerable young animal’s death.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – further notes that the USDA previously cited Debbie Dolittle’s for a violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act following the death of a young tamandua just three months before Malia died.

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  1. If PETA knew there was a problem why didn’t they remove the animals .
    Someone needs to be held accountable . This petting zoo should never be allowed to have another animal not a license

  2. I hope they get shut down! One of the employees wanted to take it to the vet and the owner said NO!!! Freaking ass hole!!!! SHUT THEM DOWN!!!! They were charging 50.00 to hold that sloth exploiting the poor thing while letting it die!!!! SWINE PIECES OF SHIT!!!! Shut them down and give em 7 years in prison the bill President Trump just passed!!!!!

  3. All I know is.. the man who owns this zoo is a good man with the best interest of the animals ALWAYS at the very core of what he is doing. He provides a space for people to learn and have fun and handle animals that most people would NEVER EVER get to see in person otherwise. Animals do die it’s a very sad part of life just like humans die and when you are dealing with so many animals of course there will be more deaths. Not due to neglect but due to1the fact that animals die.. in the wild and otherwise. Not to mention a large number of his animals are rescues which surely would have died had he not stepped in and used his own money to feed , house and take care of these animals. The staff also love each and every baby with all of their hearts ( side note Donnie also cares for his employees very much) there was once a girl who had to arrive to work 5 hours early in the wee hours of morn because it was her only ride and although donnie didnt know that girl very well he entrusted her with a key to his most prized position ( his animals and his zoo) so that she could sleep comfortably inside the zoo and wait for it to open so she could work.. he also gave her a raise when he knew she was struggling with money and an advance on her check so she wouldnt lose her apartment.. ( and she is forever greatful) anyways DONNNIE IS A GOOD MAN AND HE LOVES HIS ANIMALS AND STAFF AND IM SURE HE IS DEVASTATED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.. PLEASE DONT EVER ACCUSE HIM OF STARVING AN ANIMAL AS IT JUST SIMPLY WOULD NEVER HAOOEN

  4. I’ve been to this place a handful of times and it’s a sound well kept up operating facility. I’ve witnessed real animal cruelty in all the third world countries I’ve been to and that facility is not cruel AT ALL to those animals

  5. This is VERY UPSETTING!!! I Am going to go speak with the people there and I want to know WHY this precious innocent creature of Gods creation was neglected and abused or STARVED !!! I HATE people who harm animals because they cannot protect themselves. I was searching to find a way to donate money to them due to temporary closing, but now I’m just DAMN MAD! And I want some answers!!!!

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