An April 12, 2023 USDA APHIS inspection report—which was just released to the public—reports that Sloth Encounters’ owner Larry Wallach was recently cited for mishandling animals after a USDA inspector observed a Sloth Encounters’ employee improperly feeding a baby kangaroo in a manner that “can lead to aspiration and accompanying aspiration pneumonia” and after a sloth was observed attempting to bite Wallach and patrons. The report reads in part:
[I]n a video posted to social media, a clip showed 10+ persons free roaming inside the sloth exhibit. There was excessive noise caused by loud speaking volumes of both children and adults. Loud noises are known to cause stress in sloths. An exhibited sloth was shown to be grabbing with its claws towards a person’s repeated finger pointing and nearly touching the sloth. The sloth was attempting to bite with an open mouth, and its hair was “puffed up,” as mentioned by the filmmaker [Larry Wallach]. The filmmaker was also pointing and moving their hand towards the sloth. Sloth behaviors such as these can be indicative of behavioral stress and discomfort and could potentially harm members of the public.
Wallach was previously cited in March of 2023 for not providing federal inspectors access to inspect his facility.