NATURAL BRIDGE (WSLS 10) - Natural Bridge Zoo will not move forward with its scheduled opening on April 4th after a
mailed from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
This comes on the heels of a recently released USDA inspection report found
from an undercover investigation at Natural Bridge Zoo in January 2015.
A report released Thursday from a repeat inspection by the USDA revealed seven animals in need of veterinary care.
At the time of the inspection, there was also no documentation those animals were receiving any veterinary treatment.
The report details the needs of those specific animals.
An adult goat had multiple areas of hair loss, dry skin, and lice. She was seen scratching her sides, chewing on her skin. and rubbing her body against the fence.
An adult muntjac was only partially able to bear weight on her left front leg due to excessively long front hooves.
The inspection was conducted by multiple USDA staff as well as representatives from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
The report cites repeat violations for lack of veterinary care, with seven animals observed as being in need of that care.
The report states, "Based on statements by the licensee, six of the seven animals had not been identified by the facility prior to this inspection and, as a result, had not been reported to the attending veterinarian."
In the report, multiple enclosures, including cages and fencing, were said to be in disrepair, rusted, or otherwise potentially ineffective and dangerous to animals.
Also in the report, a perceived lack of proper communication between veterinarians and zoo staff regarding the care of animals - specifically addressing sedation and tranquilization procedures used while treating animals. One instance in the report describes a zebu tranquilized by facility personnel on January 30 to trim its hooves. The report states the zoo owner's wife said the zebu recovered after sedation, but was found dead on January 31. The report states there was "no written guidance from the attending veterinarian regarding the tranquilization of the zebu," at the time of the inspection on March 30.