Thursday, March 19, 2020

Seized kangaroo died during transport to Detroit Zoo

The kangaroo seized in a raid of a storefront by Romulus police last August died while being transported to the Detroit Zoo.
Javon Stacks, who is facing three animal abuse and cruelty charges, appeared in court earlier this month week where he learned that one of the kangaroos seized by police died as the animal was being transported by zoo workers Aug. 15.  Police seized more than 500 animals during the raid.
“During the necropsy we determined that her (the kangaroo) second vertebra, the cervical vertebra, was fractured,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, chief veterinarian at the Detroit Zoo, during a recent hearing in 34th District Court.
According to Romulus police, the raid occurred Aug. 15 after they received a tip about the exotic animals, described as abandoned, being kept at a strip mall location in the city.

Stacks has vehemently denied the charges and claims that as the owner of a company called Exotic Zoo, which he said is still licensed by both the state and federal authorities, he took good care of the animals. He said that the animals were well treated and were part of a traveling zoo that took exotic animals to schools, libraries and children's parties.
During the court hearing, Elizabeth Arbaugh of the Detroit Zoo disputed Stacks' claims of care for the animals.
“I saw animals upon animals, crates on top of each other, it smelled awful, there was no natural light,” she told the court.
The Detroit Zoo issued a statement denying any culpability in the animal’s death.
“DZS staff did not witness anything that would have caused the injury during the process of transferring her, (the kangaroo) or see or hear anything, after she was in the transport crate that would indicate that she had injured herself in the crate.
“The Detroit Zoological Society is often contacted by law enforcement agencies and asked to help when exotic animals are confiscated from private individuals, as in the Romulus case. The DZS is a leader in animal welfare, and is a strong advocate for stricter state and federal laws that limit keeping of exotic animals to organizations that have the expertise, resources and commitment to ensure their well being.”
The statement was signed by Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer. Stacks was scheduled for another court appearance on the charges this week but the outcome was unknown at press time.
Stacks said earlier that he will be exonerated of all charges.
 “I actually have strong facts and evidence to show that this was a complete set-up,” Stacks said.