WHQR recently reported that Tregembo Animal Park, a roadside zoo in Wilmington, received a USDA citation for violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Tregembo initially claimed this citation, due to an ailing bear with facial lesions, was their first. But there have been two similar citations in the zoo’s past.
Due to the bear’s sickness, Tregembo Animal Park received a code 2.40 citation, which indicates inadequate attending veterinary care. It’s a direct noncompliance item—or NCI—because it directly impacts the wellbeing of the animal.
Sherry Tregembo admitted to receiving some citations in the past, but nothing as serious as a 2.40 Direct NCI:
Sherry Tregembo: I mean, every inspection, of course, there’s usually some issue with something. I mean, sometimes you get a totally clean inspection. I consider it a citation when it’s something considered very major.
But here’s the thing: In addition to this 2.40 direct NCI, the animal park has been cited with two others in the past—one in 2004 for a drooling black leopard with ocular discharge and another in 2011 for a lion with irritated skin.
Despite these past citations, Tregembo Animal Park didn’t have any violations of the Animal Welfare Act in 2013 and 14. Tonya Espinosa, a USDA spokesperson, says the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service looks at the whole history of the facility when determining whether or not to open an investigation:
Tonya Espinosa: We don’t have a set—it takes this many repeat noncompliances or it takes this many noncompliances to open an investigation. We look at each facility individually. We look at each noncompliance individually. We look at each repeat noncompliance individually.
The USDA conducts an inspection, on average, once a year, and whenever it receives a complaint.