Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tiger Ridge Exotics

Tiger Ridge Exotics

in Stony Ridge, is owned by Kenny Hetrick. Check for yourself to see if they meet the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge. To see the undercover video of Tiger Ridge Exotics that this complaint is based on, click HERE.

Ohio USDA permit #31-C-0048 Hetrick, Kenneth & Roberta Tiger Ridge Exotics 5359 Fremont Pike Perrysburg 43551

tiger attackAPI files complaint against Tiger Ridge Exotics


Staff writer

STONY RIDGE -- The owner of a roadside zoo in Stony Ridge says a complaint that was filed last month by an animal rights group asserting his animals are a danger to the public is hogwash.

The Animal Protection Institute filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture against Kenny Hetrick, owner of Tiger Ridge Exotics, 5359 Fremont Pike, saying Hetrick recklessly endangers visitors by exposing them to grizzly bears, lions and tigers.

Nicole Paquette, API spokeswoman, said two of her group's inspectors recently visited Tiger Ridge Exotics and witnessed Hetrick open cage doors without providing a buffer between the animals and visitors.

"These animals present public safety and health threats," Paquette said. "It's an accident waiting to happen."

In addition, Paquette said Hetrick allowed the inspectors to enter into a cage where a lynx was kept. The lynx, she said, bit Hetrick's arm and caused an open wound.

"We're not asking these facilities be shut down," she said. "We want these facilities to provide proper animal care. These animals shouldn't be kept in captivity."

Hetrick said the lynx never bit him. Claiming it did is just API's way of pushing a misguided agenda.

"They're trying to make the public believe that dozens of people have been killed by tigers," Hetrick said. "I'm not going to let the animals get out. That would be the end of me."

To show the API is using dishonest methods, Hetrick said the investigators that Paquette mentioned claimed to be German exchange students when they visited his property.

The investigators also maintained that Hetrick kept a panther in his basement. The only problem with that story, Hetrick said, is that he doesn't have a basement.

As to Hetrick endangering visitors, he said the API failed to mention that he has electric fences skirting the inside perimeter of the cages. The animals know better than to go near the cage or risk getting shocked.

"I've done this for 35 years and no one's ever been scratched ... and no one's ever going to be," Hetrick said. "(API is) not looking for anything good. They're only looking for the negative."

Hetrick, who has state and federal licenses to keep exotic animals, said the USDA recently sent an inspector to his property to investigate API's complaint and found nothing wrong.

The USDA, however, refused to confirm Hetrick's claim, saying Tuesday that a Freedom of Information Act request has to be filed first. An answer would be available in about a month.

Originally published April 12, 2006


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Investigation Exposes Public Safety and Animal Welfare Issues at Ohio Tourist Attractions; Complaints Filed with USDA

Sacramento, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (API) has filed two complaints with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting various violations of federal law by two Ohio tourist attractions: Tiger Ridge Exotics in Perrysburg and the Siberian Tiger Conservation Association in Gambier. The documentation submitted by API includes video footage from a recent investigation into the issue of unregulated private ownership of dangerous exotic animals in Ohio.

The investigation documented numerous violations of federal law including:

  • Allowing the public to have direct contact with dangerous wild animals including tigers and lynxes
  • The Siberian Tiger Conservation Association, whose license was revoked by the USDA more than five years ago, still operating and endangering members of the public by allowing ”close encounters” where visitors were allowed direct, prolonged and unrestrained contact with tigers
  • Animals confined or displayed with inadequate and unsafe barriers; staff endangering public safety by improperly closing/securing enclosure gates leading directly to public areas
  • Facilities failing to provide proper upkeep of pens and caging of dangerous animals

The USDA oversees the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which extends minimal protection to dangerous exotic animals who are exhibited to the public, bred for commercial sale, used in research or transported commercially. The AWA has established several regulations that govern safety measures, proper handling and basic care and treatment standards.

“We have provided clear, documented evidence that these facilities are breaking the law and endangering the public. The USDA must act immediately on the findings from this investigation,” says Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer of API.

Ohio is one of only 13 states with no laws prohibiting the private possession of exotic animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, primates and dangerous reptiles.

“At least 20 serious injuries and deaths caused by privately-owned exotic animals have been reported in the U.S. in the last year alone,” Thew continues. “The owners of these facilities are playing roulette with people’s lives. The USDA must act on these complaints before another tragedy happens.”

API is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. API also manages a Primate Sanctuary that is currently home to more than 400 primates, many of whom were rescued from abusive or exploitative private ownership situations. For more information, visit

Additional b-roll footage of investigation details is available by request at 916-447-3085 x205.


Zibby Wilder
Animal Protection Institute (API)
916-447-3085 x205

According to the Aesop-Project in 2000 this was the inventory at Tiger Ridge Exotics:

Tiger Ridge Exotics 1/6/2000 Bear 2
Tiger Ridge Exotics 1/6/2000 Small Felid 2
Tiger Ridge Exotics 1/6/2000 Large Canid 2
Tiger Ridge Exotics 1/6/2000 Large Felid 21
Tiger Ridge Exotics 7/25/2000 Bear 4
Tiger Ridge Exotics 7/25/2000 Large Felid 20
Tiger Ridge Exotics 7/25/2000 Small Felid 2
Tiger Ridge Exotics 7/25/2000 Large Canid 2

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