Petting Zoos & Traveling Animal Displays

Animals in roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, and traveling displays are forced to spend their lives behind bars just to entertain the public. This deprivation—combined with relentless boredom, loneliness, and sometimes even abuse from the people who are supposed to be caring for them—causes many captive animals to lose their minds and others to die prematurely. 

Animal welfare

Premature deaths



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Tearing families apart


Solitary confinement


Animals fight back


Whipped, chained, and imprisoned—animals abused for human entertainment are fighting for their safety, their sanity, and, often, their very lives; so when they fight back, it can be deadly. Read on to learn about just a few instances of animals fighting back after being exploited on Long Island.

Solitary Chimp escapes, is beaten with fencepost, shot with 12-gauge at LI game Farm

Long before Barney the Bull made his grand escape in Manorville, Barney the Chimpanzee attempted one of his own from Manorville’s Long Island Game Farm, however, Barney the Chimpanzee was not as lucky as Barney the Bull. 

In 1996, Barney, a 19-year-old chimpanzee, escaped from his solitary cage at the Long Island Game Farm after workers accidentally left one of the three locks unfastened. Barney grabbed a child’s leg, and a zoo worker hit him over the head with a fence post. The zoo’s owner tried to lure him with milk and cookies, but Barney bit him on the head and arms, leaving a 3-inch laceration. The chimpanzee scratched two teachers and was eventually shot and killed with a 12-gauge shotgun. There were 500 to 600 children in the Manorville menagerie at the time. 

Tiger Escapes cole bros. circus, causes 5-car pileup on Jackie Robinson Parkway

On July 31, 2004, a 450-pound white tiger bolted from Cole Bros. Circus while being transferred from one cage to another near the Forest Park band shell in Queens. Dozens of police officers with machine guns and tranquilizer darts pursued the animal for 30 minutes as he prowled through a park crowded with picnickers, scattering screaming people and causing a five-car pileup. The trainer recaptured him. Two women filed a $30 million lawsuit after sustaining spinal fractures and other injuries in the multicar crash on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Cole Bros. apparently never learned from this instance, resulting in Humane Long Island filing a formal complaint to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) alleging the circus’ violation of New York state permits pertaining to elephants mandating that “Animals must be exhibited, held, transported, and housed in a manner which prevents direct contact with the public at all times.” The New York State DEC reported “The department followed up on [Humane Long Island’s] complaint and as a result tickets were issued for violation of state law. The animals in question were transported out of the state the same day.”


Leading campaigns to stop mass killings before they happen

After campaigns led by Humane Long Island, North Hempstead officials scrapped plans to massacre 600 geese; Islip UFSD ended an 8-year tradition of hiring Wildlife Services to execute hundreds of geese annually on its properties; the Lake Ronkonkoma Advisory Board pursued birth control rather than slaughter; and Brightwaters and Cornwall-on-the-Hudson committed to pursue only humane, nonlethal geese management.

East Hampton, Southampton, Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Shelter Island canceled plans to hire Wildlife Services to kill ~5,000 deer on the East End following a campaign by Humane Long Island and our friends at the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island. 

Humane Long Island’s international Duck Defenders program also helped Wasatch Wanderers stop a roundup of Ducks at High Glen Park. 

Dangerous incidents involving animals exhibited at Long Island fairs

During a performance at the Saratoga County Fair in 2017, a young grizzly bear being exhibited by A Grizzly Experience mauled a handler in front of a live audience. The handler held his face as blood streamed from it and walked the braying bear back to the trailer. The remainder of the show was canceled. Don Lehman, a witness, noted, “As I watched the show before the injury, I thought of all the things that could go wrong when you take a 500-pound omnivore and treat it like a circus freak. We saw one of them.”

In January 2013, a male bear named Boo Boo escaped from an enclosure at A Grizzly Experience. He was captured three days later several blocks from the facility. Just four months later, Osborn brought Boo Boo to the Brookhaven Fair along with two more bears named Yogi and Tonk.

The ‘Conservation’ Con

Teaching children the wrong lessons


Diverting donations from real conservation efforts

Studies show these interactions with visitors undermine legitimate conservation efforts by misleading people into thinking that wild populations are not imperiled, making them less likely to donate to conservation. 

What humane long island is doing to help

Speaking out in the press

Sloth E

Supporting Reputable animal sanctuaries & Preserves

Sloth E

Fighting Sloth Encounters

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Retiring animals from petting zoos to sanctuaries

Humane long island worked amicably with party pets of New York to shut down its malverne petting zoo

When the public began moving away from animal encounters following the Covid-19 pandemic, Party Pets owner Andre Ricaud contacted Humane Long Island to retire 40 ducks and chickens, 3 sheeps, 1 turkey, and 1 goose to reputable sanctuaries.

“They’ve been placed in great homes,” Ricaud said, “and I know they’re not going to be eaten or destroyed. I’m happy that they have their forever homes.”