Maggots ate the flesh of three wolves and exotic squirrels showed signs of “self-trauma” at a North Carolina zoo, a federal inspector said in a report released this week.
None of the wolves at Lake Norman zootastic park were under the care of a veterinarian and no medical treatment had been prescribed for their “open wounds,” the US Department of Agriculture veterinarian wrote in his Aug. 13 inspection report.
“These injuries appear to correspond to a chronic attack of flies,” the officer wrote.
Flystrike cbe fatal if left untreated, according to the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London.
The condition appears when eggs laid by flies on an animal hatch and become maggots, according to the college.
A Zootastic employee told the inspector that staff applied a maggot treatment spray every day and a weekly ointment to the two tamed wolves, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Charlotte Observer on Friday.
“A wolf cannot be handled without sedation and therefore receives more limited care,” the inspector wrote.
Ostwalt Amity Road Zoo in Troutman is home to many types of wildlife, including lions, tigers, giraffes, antelopes, cheetahs, bison, deer, zebras, monkeys and birds, according to his website.
USDA: Rats and squirrels seen self-trauma
The inspector also saw several rats “actively feeding on the bowl of fresh produce in the cavy / chicken enclosure in the upper barn,” according to the USDA report.
“The licensee said he had a pest control program in place and traps were visible,” wrote the medical officer of health. “However, the current program is inadequate to control the rat population. In accordance with regulations, a safe and effective insect, ectoparasite, and avian and mammalian parasite control program must be established and maintained.
An exotic tricolor Prévost’s squirrel, originally from Southeast Asia, had a superficial injury that Zootastic failed to report to its attending vet, the inspector noted in his report.
The squirrel recently had its tail amputated at a veterinary hospital “due to apparent ongoing self-trauma,” the inspector wrote. Another Prévost squirrel had already had its tail amputated for the same reason, she wrote.
The department did not impose a fine on the park, saying instead it would follow up to see if the zoo followed its orders.
These orders include veterinary care for all of her animals and immediate notification to the vet when staff detect a health problem, according to the report.
Zootastic owner Scottie Brown did not respond to a request for comment from the Observer on Friday.
The USDA has inspected Zootastic 27 times since 2014, agency records reviewed by the Observer show.
Inspectors cited the zoo for various animal welfare violations during 14 of the visits, according to the documents.
In 2016, the USDA fined the zoo $ 7,450 for nine infractions, including a poorly constructed enclosure that left a kinkajou escape. A lion cub at the zoo has killed the tropical rainforest mammal, inspection records show.
The zoo has received 39 citations since 2014, USDA documents show
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, published a Press release on its website Wednesday about the latest USDA inspection report at Zootastic. PETA is a non-profit animal rights organization.
“The animals in this shabby outfit did not receive adequate care, which resulted in the amputation of two squirrel tails as well as three wolf ears eaten by flies,” said Debbie Metzler, head of the Foundation. PETA, in the press release. “PETA asks Zootastic to send all animals to reputable facilities before receiving their next citation.”