Dade City’s “Wild Things” accused of abusing animals

DADE CITY, FL (WFLA) – Dade City’s “Wild Thing’s” has been around for years allowing people to get close to lions, tigers and bears, among many other animals. But it’s the way it’s been treating those animals, that has now come under the scrutiny of the federal government.

“Luna” is the latest tiger cub that’s been brought to “Wild Things”. The 10-week-old cub will be used to allow visitors to “Swim with the Tigers”.

Randy Stearns the president of “Wild Things” said, “We are the only ones in the United States that does the “Tiger Swim”, we have been doing it for 10 years, zero incidents with the public, with the animals, nothing, they have been trying to find dirt on us they can’t because there is no incidences.”

The “they” Stearns is referring to is “PETA”, which filed a complaint several years ago with the USDA to force an end the practice. Now USDA has cited “Wild Things” for several violations, ranging from how the animals are treated to an incident where paint was used on the tigers.

Stearns added, “Yes, we did use a little water paint, its like your kids play in pre-school and they put it on the tiger’s paws and the tiger walked and the kids got to take a paw print home. Its another incident where we are being singled out for something that is not even a violation.”

PETA is not the only organization that wanted to see action taken against the Dade City animal sanctuary.

The Humane Society of the United Sates, which has offices in Florida, also welcomes the government’s actions. Kate McFall with the Humane society said, “We applaud the U-S-D-A for taking action here, it is warranted and i hope that their license will be revoked.”

But despite the claims made by the USDA the “Wild Things” president remains steadfast that the practice will continue.

Stearns went on to say, “We haven’t done anything wrong, so as far as we are concerned we are going to keep doing it until the supreme court or god comes down and says stop doing, we are going to keep doing what we believe we are doing is right.”

Stearns said he feels “Wild Things” is being singled out by PETA, and he is considering taking legal action against the animal rights group. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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