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September 27, 2018

Via U.S. Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and Email

Robert L. Beebe, President


James Beebe
Kenneth Beebe
Olympic Game Farm, Inc.
1423 Ward Rd.
Sequim, WA 98382-7838
olympicgamefarm@hotmail.com

Ryan Zinke, Secretary Jim Kurth, Acting Director


U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1849 C Street NW 1849 C Street NW, Room 3331
Washington, DC 20240 Washington, DC 20240
Email: exsec@ios.doi.gov, feedback@ios.doi.gov Email: Jim_Kurth@fws.gov

Re: Notice of Intent to File Suit Pursuant to Endangered Species Act.

Dear Messrs. Robert Beebe, James Beebe, Kenneth Beebe, Secretary Zinke, and Acting Director
Kurth:

On behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”)—and its more than 200,000
members and supporters—and pursuant to Section 11(g) of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”),
16 U.S.C. § 1540(g), we write to provide notice that Robert L. Beebe, James Beebe, and Kenneth
Beebe, dba Olympic Game Farm, Inc. in Sequim, Washington (“the Game Farm”) are violating the
ESA’s prohibition against “take” of members of listed endangered and threatened species by
harming and/or harassing numerous animals at the Game Farm. See id. §§ 1538(a)(1), 1532(19).
Extensive photographic and video evidence, visitor observations, and expert analyses—including
reports from U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) inspectors—indicate that members of
ESA-listed species at the Game Farm suffer mentally and physically in cramped, squalid, and
deprived conditions without sufficient psychological and social enrichment.

This letter provides a summary of some of the evidence that demonstrates the Game Farm
is violating the ESA. It also outlines evidence establishing that animals at the Game Farm are
subject to conditions that constitute a public nuisance under Washington state law, and one that
causes special harm to the ALDF and its members.

ALDF and its members are prepared to pursue litigation against the Game Farm. The
litigation would seek injunctive relief to ensure the transfer of every animal at the Game Farm to
an appropriate sanctuary—i.e., to a sanctuary that can provide a more naturalistic setting for the
animals to express species-typical behavior in a safe and enriching environment.
To avoid the time and cost of litigation, ALDF is prepared to enter into a settlement of
these claims with the Game Farm. 1 ALDF offers to facilitate the transfer of all animals at the
Game Farm to reputable sanctuaries at no cost to the Game Farm. ALDF would handle all of the
arrangements for such a transfer, including securing and paying for the placement, transport, and
necessary veterinary care. Alternatively, ALDF would settle this matter in exchange for the Game
Farm closing its doors to the public and becoming a Global Federation of Accredited Sanctuaries
certified sanctuary.

I. Olympic Game Farm Violates the Endangered Species Act.

The Game Farm possesses and displays members of federally endangered and threatened
species. The Game Farm keeps these individuals in cramped, squalid conditions constituting harm
and harassment in violation of the ESA. Failure to provide for the species-specific needs of these
endangered and threatened animals further violates the ESA.

A. Requirements under the Endangered Species Act.

The ESA protects federally endangered and threatened species from harm and harassment.
The ESA is “the most comprehensive legislation for the preservation of endangered species ever
enacted by any nation.” Tenn. Valley Auth. v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 180 (1978). Finding that fish,
wildlife, and plants “have been rendered extinct as a consequence of economic growth and
development untempered by adequate concern and conservation . . . . Congress intended
endangered species to be afforded the highest of priorities.” Tenn. Valley Auth., 437 U.S. at 174
(citation omitted).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”), an agency that implements the ESA, lists
species as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Act. 16 U.S.C. § 1533(a); see also 50 C.F.R.
§ 17.11. These designations trigger the ESA’s protections. See In re Polar Bear ESA Listing &
Section 4(d) Rule Litig.--MDL No. 1993, 709 F.3d 1, 2 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (“When a species . . . is
listed as either ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ under the Act, it is then subject to a host of protective
measures designed to conserve the species.”).

“[S]ection 9, which imposes a blanket prohibition on the ‘take’ of any endangered species,”
is “central to the ESA’s protections.” Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. FWS, 807 F.3d 1031, 1036
(9th Cir. 2015) (citing 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)). This take prohibition also applies to species listed as
threatened. Defenders of Wildlife v. Zinke, 856 F.3d 1248, 1253 (9th Cir. 2017). “The ESA
expansively defines the term ‘take’ to include ‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap,
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.’” Hill v. Coggins, 867 F.3d 499,
508 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 1003, 200 L. Ed. 2d 253 (2018) (quoting 16 U.S.C.
§ 1532(19)). Courts “construe[] broadly” the term “take,” because Congress intended for it to “be
defined in the broadest possible manner to include every conceivable way in which a person can
‘take’ or attempt to ‘take’ any fish or wildlife.” Forest Conservation Council v. Rosboro Lumber
Co., 50 F.3d 781, 784 (9th Cir. 1995) (quoting S. Rep. No. 307, 93d Cong., 1st Sess. 7 (1973)).

1
This offer of assistance is addressed directly to Olympic Game Farm.

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FWS regulations define “harm” as “an act which actually kills or injures wildlife.” 50
C.F.R. § 17.3. The agency defines “harass” as “an intentional or negligent act which creates the
likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal
behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering.” Id.
Harassment, harm, and other forms of “take” “clearly appl[y] to individual specimens or groups of
specimens.” Captive-Bred Wildlife Regulation, 63 Fed. Reg. 48634, 48636 (Sept. 11, 1998).

The ESA’s take prohibitions apply to members of listed species living in captivity. See 16
U.S.C. § 1532(a); 79 Fed. Reg. 4313, 4317 (Jan. 27, 2014) (“The ESA does not support the
exclusion of captive members from a listing based solely on their status as captive. . . . Section
9(a)(1)(A)-(G) of the ESA applies to endangered species regardless of their captive status.”); Hill,
867 F.3d at 506-07 (finding captive grizzly bears are covered by the ESA); see also Elephant
Justice Proj. v. Woodland Park Zoological Soc’y, Inc., 2015 WL 12564233, *2-3 (W.D. Wash.
Apr. 7, 2015) (finding a likelihood of success of claim that defendant zoo was performing an
“unlawful take” of captive elephants).

Persons violating the ESA risk civil and criminal penalties. 16 U.S.C. § 1540(a)-(b).
Private parties, including ALDF and its members, may bring enforcement actions 60 days after
providing adequate notice of the violations to both the violator and the Secretary of the Interior. Id.
§ 1540(g). A court that finds violations of the ESA “take” prohibition has the authority to order the
removal and relocation of captive animals to other, more protective facilities. See, e.g., Kuehl v.
Sellner, 161 F. Supp. 3d 678, 718 (N.D. Iowa 2016) (“Specifically, Defendants must transfer the
lemurs and tigers in their possession to an appropriate facility which is licensed by the USDA and
is capable of meeting the needs of the endangered species.”), aff’d 887 F.3d 845 (8th Cir. 2017).

B. The conditions of animals and activities occurring at Olympic Game Farm violate
the Endangered Species Act.

The improper confinement of endangered and threatened species at the Game Farm
constitutes, and will continue to constitute, harm and harassment under the ESA. This letter
addresses the protected animals that ALDF and its members are aware of at the Game Farm. To
the extent that additional endangered or threatened species are at the Game Farm, the facility’s
overall practices and conditions constitute a take of those protected species as well. 2

1. Gray wolves.

The Game Farm possesses and displays gray wolves in conditions that amount to a take
under the ESA. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a protected endangered species in Western
Washington. 50 C.F.R. § 17.11. The gray wolf has been an endangered species since 1978. FWS
describes the wolf as “an integral component of the ecosystems to which it typically belongs.” 3 An

2
For instance, the Game Farm possesses and displays zebras. Should any of these individuals be discovered
to be a listed species, such as the mountain zebra, or Grevy’s zebra, the ESA claims within this notice
extend to those species as well. The same applies to animals living in the Game Farm’s reptile house.
3
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Species Profile for Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Environmental Conservation
Online System, https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=A00D.

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individual who takes a wolf violates the ESA’s Section 9 and is subject to civil and criminal
penalties. See 16 U.S.C. § 1540(a)–(b); Hill, 867 F.3d 499.

Wolf territories are typically between 200 and 500 square miles, but may range to as much
as 1,000 square miles. 4 Species with large territories are particularly vulnerable to stress in
captivity. 5 “[C]hronically high stress levels can have deleterious effects on an animal’s well being,
including the animal’s immune function, development, and reproductive function.” 6 Chronic stress
may also decrease individual fitness by atrophy of tissues. 7 The “absence of chronic stress” is a
prerequisite of animal welfare. 8

One wolf per every 10 square miles is considered ideal for wolf health. 9 Wolves spend
about 35% of their time in transit, often travelling 20 to 30 miles per day, but covering over 100
miles a day when prey is scarce. 10 Stereotypic pacing, a stress behavior in captive animals, is “best
predicted by the daily distance travelled in nature by the wild specimens.” 11 Not surprisingly, the
wolves confined to tiny, barren, and inadequate enclosures at the Game Farm engage in stereotypic
pacing.

For wolves in captivity, “[c]hoice and control are probably the two most significant criteria
for improving animal welfare.” 12 To meet these needs, their enclosures “must be large enough to
allow a choice among different regions, to allow animals to be visually separated from the visitors,
and to give them control over their activities.” 13

The AZA Large Canid Care Manual also recognizes the importance of large habitats for
wolves: “Canids kept in undersized areas may show diminished well-being as evidenced by
pacing, aggression, nervousness, poor reproduction, and poor care of offspring.” In contrast, “[a]

4
Western Wildlife Outreach, Wolf Ecology and Behavior, Gray Wolf Outreach, http://westernwildlife.org
/gray-wolf-outreach-project/biology-behavior-4.
5
Grégory Breton & Salomé Barrot, Influence of Enclosure Size on the Distances Covered and Paced by
Captive Tigers (Panthera tigris), 154 Applied Animal Behavior Science 66, 67 (2014), doi:
10.1016/j.applanim.2014.02.007.
6
Jessica M Keay, Jatinder Singh, Matthew C. Gaunt, & Taranjit Kaur, Fecal Glucocorticoids and Their
Metabolites as Indicators of Stress in Various Mammalian Species: A Literature Review, 37(3) Journal of
Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 234, 234 (2006), doi: 10.1638/05-050.1.
7
E. Möstl & R. Palme, Hormones are Indicators of Stress, 23 Domestic Animal Endocrinology 67, 68
(2002), doi: 10.1016/S0739-7240(02)00146-7.
8
Id. at 67.
9
Western Wildlife Outreach, supra n.4.
10
Id.
11
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
12
Anne Frézard & Gilles Le Pape, Contribution to the Welfare of Captive Wolves (Canis lupus lupus): A
Behavioral Comparison of Six Wolf Packs, 22 Zoo Biology 33, 43 (2003), doi : 10.1002/zoo.10070.
13
Id.

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large and varied enclosure will provide greater opportunity for canids to express their full range of
natural, species-appropriate behaviors, and eliminate the associated stress and unnatural behaviors
associated with housing in low quality environments.” 14

One aspect of choice and control for wolves is the opportunity to retreat from view. The
AZA manual emphasizes the importance of the opportunity to retreat from view:

Enclosures should be large enough and contain sufficient visual barriers to provide
the occupants with a degree of privacy and ability to avoid the public, staff, and each
other when desired. When large canids do not have sufficient visual privacy or feeling
of security, they are more likely to show stereotypic abnormal behavior, including
pacing, spinning or twirling, excessive self-grooming (licking or chewing), and a
range of other abnormal or inappropriate behaviors and conditions such as increased
agonistic interactions, diarrhea, hair loss, decreased appetite, weight loss,
reproductive failure, or maternal neglect. 15

The lack of visual barriers and ability to retreat from view, in addition to harassment from honking
cars, barking dogs, and other aspects of the constant public visitation at the Game Farm causes
stress on the wolves, and leads them to engage in these stereotypic behaviors. According to a study
in Zoo Biology, stereotypic behavior of animals in zoos “suggests that the animal’s well‐being may
be compromised.” 16

The Game Farm keeps gray wolves in tiny, barren, inadequate enclosures, giving them no
choice or control over their surroundings, frustrating their essential natural behaviors. The
conditions at the Game Farm amount to a taking of an endangered species. These conditions also
amount to a public nuisance under Washington State law, as discussed below.

2. Lions.

The Game Farm displays lions in conditions that amount to a take under the ESA. Lions
(Panthera leo) are an endangered species. 50 C.F.R. § 17.11. When he was Director of FWS, Dan
Ashe described lions as “one of the planet’s most beloved species and an irreplaceable part of our
shared global heritage.” 17 An individual who takes a lion violates the ESA’s Section 9 and is
subject to civil and criminal penalties. See 16 U.S.C. § 1540(a)–(b).

14
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Canid Taxon Advisory Group 2012, Large Canid (Canidae) Care
Manual 11 (2012).
15
Id.
16
Julia Chosy, Megan Wilson, & Rachel Santymire, Behavioral and physiological responses in felids to
exhibit construction, 33(4) Zoo Biology 267, 267 (2014), doi: 10.1002/zoo.21142.
17
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lions Are Now Protected Under the Endangered Species Act, Endangered
Species (Dec. 23, 2015), https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/lion.html.

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Lion home ranges vary by location from 8-17 square miles to over 800 square miles. 18
Species with large territories are particularly vulnerable to stress in captivity. 19 “[C]hronically high
stress levels can have deleterious effects on an animal’s well being, including the animal’s immune
function, development, and reproductive function.” 20 Chronic stress may also decrease individual
fitness by muscle atrophy. 21 The “absence of chronic stress” is a prerequisite of animal welfare. 22

Lions travel up to 8 miles a day. 23 Stereotypic pacing, a stress behavior in captive animals,
is “best predicted by the daily distance travelled in nature by the wild specimens.” 24 Lions are very
social, with females and cubs living in prides averaging 4-6 adult females, and up to 8 males with a
lifelong alliance with the pride. 25 The AZA manual sets a minimum of 10,000 square feet for lion
enclosures. 26 In addition, because lions are accustomed to a warm environment, the AZA manual
calls for access to indoor enclosures or a supplemental heat source in temperatures below 50 °F. 27

Captive felids, such as lions, have particularly high needs for environmental enrichments. 28
Enrichments can “enhance captive animals’ well‐being by stimulating active behaviors and
reducing stereotypical behaviors commonly seen in zoo felids.” 29 Because of the complexity of
lion’s exploring and hunting in the wild, “it remains difficult to provide fully for this complex
array of behaviors within the captive setting.” 30

The Game Farm keeps lions in isolation in tiny, barren, inadequate enclosures, frustrating
their essential natural behaviors. The lions at the Game Farm do not have shelter from the cold,
despite the climate of Sequim being markedly colder than that of their home ranges in Africa. The
conditions at the Game Farm amount to take of an endangered species. These conditions also
amount to a public nuisance under Washington State law, as discussed below.

18
Monika B. Lehmann, Paul J. Funston, Cailey R. Owen & Rob Slotow, Home Range Utilization and
Territorial Behavior of Lions (Panthera Leo) on Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa, 3(12) PLoS One
e3998, 4 (Dec. 22, 2008), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003998.
19
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
20
Keay et al., supra n.6 at 234.
21
Möstl & Palme, supra n.7 at 68.
22
Id. at 67.
23
Id.
24
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
25
San Diego Zoo, Fact Sheet: African lion, Panthera leo (Aug. 2005).
26
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Lion Species Survival Plan, Lion Care Manual 19 (2012).
27
Id. at 13.
28
Thomas Quirke et al., A comparative study of the speeds attained by captive cheetahs during the
enrichment practice of the “cheetah run”, 32(5) Zoo Biology 490, 490 (2013), doi: 10.1002/zoo.21082.
29
Amy L. Skibiel, Heather S. Trevino, & Ken Naugher, Comparison of several types of enrichment for
captive felids, 26(5) Zoo Biology 371, 371 (2007), doi: 10.1002/zoo.20147.
30
Quirke et al., supra n.28 at 490.

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3. Tigers.

The Game Farm possesses and displays tigers in conditions that amount to a take under the
ESA. Tigers (Panthera tigris) are endangered wherever found. 50 C.F.R. § 17.11. To strengthen
the protections for captive tigers under the ESA, FWS issued a recent rule to remove non-purebred
tigers (inter-subspecific crossed or generic tigers) from the list of species exempt from registration
under the Captive-bred Wildlife regulations. See U.S. Captive-Bred Inter-subspecific Crossed or
Generic Tigers, 81 Fed. Reg. 19923 (Apr. 6, 2016). An individual who takes a tiger violates the
ESA’s Section 9 and is subject to civil and criminal penalties. See 16 U.S.C. § 1540(a)–(b).

Tiger territories have been measured at 27 to 32 square miles for females, and 103 to 114
square miles for males. 31 Species with large territories are particularly vulnerable to stress in
captivity. “This is the case of the tiger, one of the largest living carnivores.” 32 “[C]hronically high
stress levels can have deleterious effects on an animal’s well being, including the animal’s immune
function, development, and reproductive function.” 33 Chronic stress may also decrease fitness by
atrophy of tissues. 34 The “absence of chronic stress” is a prerequisite of animal welfare. 35

Tigers are a long-ranging species, known to travel over 400 miles to reach tiger populations
in other areas. 36 Stereotypical pacing, a stress behavior in captive animals, is “best predicted by the
daily distance travelled in nature by the wild specimens.” 37

Stereotypic behavior in captive tigers correlates to the size and complexity of the enclosure.
“[I]t is assumed that both large and enriched naturalistic enclosures are essential to prevent the
onset of stereotypes among tigers in captivity.” 38 Spatial constraints in captive settings “result[] in
welfare issues among captive animals.” 39 A 2014 study of 38 tigers in seven French zoological

31
Achara Simcharoen, Tommaso Savini, George A. Gale, Saksit Simcharoen, Somphot Duangchantrasiri,
Somporn Pakpien, James L D Smith, Female Tiger Panthera Tigris Home Range Size and Prey Abundance:
Important Metrics for Management, 48(3) ORYX3 370 (2014), doi: 10.1017/S0030605312001408.
32
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
33
Keay et al., supra n.6 at 234.
34
Möstl & Palme, supra n.7 at 68.
35
Id. at 67.
36
Aditya Joshi, Srinivas Vaidyanathan, Samrat Mondol, Advait Edgaonkar & Uma Ramakrishnan,
Connectivity of Tiger (Panthera tigris) Populations in the Human-Influenced Forest Mosaic of Central
India, 8(11) PLoS ONE e77980 (2013), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077980.
37
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
38
Janice Vaz, Edward J. Narayan, R. Dileep Kumar, K. Thenmozhi, Krishnamoorthy Thiyagesan, &
Nagarajan Baskaran, Prevalence and determinants of stereotypic behaviors and physiological stress among
tigers and leopards in Indian zoos, 12(4) PLoS One e0174711, 17-18 (2017) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.
0174711.
39
Id. at 2.

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parks sought to quantify the influence of enclosure size on stereotypic pacing. 40 They found “a
significant negative correlation between the total [distance paced] and the enclosure size.” 41 “The
absence of a range of stimuli in captivity can cause stress and lead to the development of abnormal
behaviors, such as abnormal stereotypical pacing behavior, best described as a repetitive,
maladaptive, and apparently functionless behavior.” 42 Stereotypic behavior in animals in zoos
“suggests that the animal’s well‐being may be compromised.” 43

Tigers are also avid swimmers, keeping cool on hot days by bathing in rivers and lakes, and
swimming up to 18 miles in a day. 44 A 2017 study monitored 41 tigers at six zoos in India,
measuring stereotypical behaviors and stress levels through fecal glucocorticoid metabolites, a
biochemical marker of stress. 45 Researchers concluded that large enclosures with a pool with clean
water are “essential for tigers.” 46 Researchers suggest that outdoor enclosures for tigers should
include a pool “to reduce stress and promote naturalistic behavior.” 47 The AZA Tiger Care Manual
says that all tiger exhibits should include relatively large, complex outdoor space, and water pools,
moats, and/or running streams, and “the addition of a concrete pool is key in tiger exhibits.” 48

A Siberian tiger possessed and displayed by the Game Farm suffers from lameness in his
back legs and also manifests stress by engaging in stereotypic pacing—both likely attributed to,
and exacerbated by, his small, barren enclosure with inadequate substrate flooring and lack of a
proper water feature. In addition, Amadeus, a tiger at the Game Farm, died at some point in 2018.
As Amadeus lay sick and dying, the Game Farm continued to display him to the public, hanging a
sign on his enclosure reading, “Animal is under veterinarian care.” 49

The Game Farm does not provide adequately sized enclosures, adequate enrichment for
tigers, or adequate water for natural swimming behaviors—all three factors cited by both scientific
researchers and zoo associations as essential for tiger welfare. The conditions at the Game Farm
frustrate the tigers’ natural behaviors and amount to take of an endangered species. These
conditions also amount to a public nuisance under Washington State law, as discussed below.

40
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
41
Id.
42
Juliana Damasceno, Gelson Genaro, Thomas Quirke, Shannen McCarthy Sean McKeown, & Ruth
O’Riordan, The effects of intrinsic enrichment on captive felids, 36(3) Zoo Biology 186, 186 (2017), doi:
10.1002/zoo.21361.
43
Chosy et al., supra n.16 at 267.
44
Ronald M. Novak, Walker's Mammals of the World 825-828 (1999); see also John Seidensticker, Peter
Jackson, Sarah Christie, Riding the Tiger (1999).
45
Vaz et al., supra n.28 at 3.
46
Id. at 20.
47
Id. at 21.
48
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Tiger Species Survival Plan, Tiger Care Manual 11 (2016).
49
Amadeus the Tiger Dying Alone & Showcased at Olympic Game Farm, YouTube (Apr. 18, 2018),
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk12piDqJmY.

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4. Brown bears.

The Game Farm possesses and displays brown bears. The subspecies Ursus arctos
horribilis, is listed as threatened under the ESA, except for in areas of Idaho, Montana, and
Wyoming. 50 C.F.R. § 17.11. To the extent that any of the bears are members of Ursus arctos
horribilis, this letter serves as notice that the Game Farm is committing a take under the ESA.

Grizzly bears naturally establish large territories. Depending on location and mating
season, females establish ranges from 41 to 107 square miles, while males establish ranges from
164 to 345 square miles. 50 Larger ranges have been recorded, up to 1,213 square miles, an area
roughly equivalent to Olympic National Park. 51 Species with large territories are particularly
vulnerable to stress in captivity. 52 As noted above, “chronically high stress levels can have
deleterious effects on an animal’s well being, including the animal’s immune function,
development, and reproductive function.” 53 Chronic stress may also decrease individual fitness by
atrophy of tissues. 54 The “absence of chronic stress” is a prerequisite of animal welfare. 55

Brown bears possess “an arsenal of behaviors, physiological processes and a formidable
intelligence.” 56 In fact, “it is recognized that bears are every bit as demanding as primates and
require intense husbandry routines to keep them in good mental and physical condition.” 57

In the wild, grizzly bear diets include: berries; starchy tubers and roots; grasses; forbs;
sedges; clover; dandelion; cow parsnip; thistle; fireweed; whitebark and limber pine nuts;
mushrooms; insects such as ants, grubs, and moths; fish; carrion; small rodents; and newborn elk,
deer, and bison. 58 Brown bears engage in a wide variety of feeding activities, and might “run down
deer, fish for salmon, dig out ground squirrel, graze on grasses and herbs, turn over boulders
searching for caddis flies, pluck berries or forage for beech mast.” 59 Brown bears “are exquisitely
designed to locate and procure food from a multitude of different sources using a range of different

50
Bjorn Dahle & Jon E. Swenson, Seasonal Range Size in Relation to Reproductive Strategies in Brown
Bears Ursus arctos, 72(4) Journal of Animal Ecology 660 (2003), doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.2003.00737.x.
51
Ioan Mihai Pop, Leonardo Bereczky, Silviu Chiriac, Ruben Iosif, Andreea Nita, Viorel Dan Popescu, &
Laurențiu Rozylowicz, Movement Ecology of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) in the Romanian Eastern
Carpathians, 26 Nature Conservation 15 (2018), doi: 10.3897/natureconservation.26.22955.
52
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
53
Keay et al., supra n.6 at 234.
54
Möstl & Palme, supra n.7 at 68.
55
Id. at 67.
56
G. Law & A. Reid, Enriching the Lives of Bears in Zoos, 44 International Zoo Yearbook 65, 67 (2010),
doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1090.2009.00096.x.
57
Id. at 69.
58
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region, What Do Grizzly Bears Eat?, Living with
Grizzlies (June 2003), https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/species/mammals/grizzly/grizz_foods.pdf
59
Law & Reid, supra n.56 at 67.

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techniques.” 60 This natural behavior imposes a duty on facilities housing these animals: “Bears are
designed to forage for long periods of time to survive and thrive so if this option is ostensibly
removed they are left purposeless and unchallenged.” 61

The Game Farm sells loaves of bread to visitors and allows visitors to bring their own
bread, which they can then throw at the bears without restriction. 62 USDA notified the Game
Farm, as early as June 25, 2014, that bread is an improper food source. 63 In over four years since
this notice, there is no evidence the Game Farm has implemented more species-appropriate food.

Research published by the Zoological Society of London, managers of the London Zoo
since 1828, states: “Most zoos, quite rightly, do not allow the public to feed their bears.” 64 In
addition to bread thrown from cars being nutritionally improper, “[c]oncentrating food in one area
for bears to feed is wrong.” 65 Proper care requires “creating a more challenging environment for
bears to find their food, where they have to manipulate items within the exhibit or search for
hidden items….” 66 Throwing bread at bears from cars fails to meet the animals’ basic needs.

Acceptable care is “a situation in which the bear gets up in the morning, works hard
through the day and goes to bed tired at night.” 67 The Game Farm keeps bears in small, barren
enclosures, where they pace or linger by a fence and await passing vehicles to throw bread at them.
At least one of the bears engages in stereotypic pacing and panting, manifesting stress. Moreover,
the bears do not have adequate protection from the heat.

In addition, a visitor to the Game Farm in September 2018 observed a large, relatively fresh
gash, around five inches in length, below the bear’s shoulder blades and perpendicular to the spine.
The treatment of bears and their conditions at the Game Farm frustrate the bears’ natural behaviors
and amount to take of an endangered species. The treatment and conditions of the bears also
amount to a public nuisance under Washington State law, as discussed below.

5. Canada lynx.

The Game Farm possesses and displays Canada lynx in conditions that amount to a take
under the ESA. Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are listed as threatened “wherever found in the
contiguous USA.” 50 C.F.R. § 17.11.

60
Id. at 74.
61
Id. at 72.
62
Olympic Game Farm, Visit the Farm, https://olygamefarm.com/visit-the-farm/#animals.
63
USDA, Inspection Report (June 25, 2014) (“[I]t is strongly advised that a gradual transition to a more
species appropriate snack be implemented. . . . This transition should be started as soon as possible.”).
64
Law & Reid, supra n.56 at 72.
65
Id.
66
Id.
67
Id. at 74.

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Canada lynx primarily inhabit the northern forests of Canada and Alaska, with smaller
populations in the contiguous U.S. 68 Canada lynx typically inhabit regions where snow cover
continues for four months or more. 69 Lynx density varies from one lynx per square mile to one
lynx per 39 square miles—this depends on the availability of their primary food source, snowshoe
hare. 70 Home ranges vary in size and have been recorded from 3 to 302 square miles. 71 Species
with large territories are particularly vulnerable to stress in captivity. 72 Captive Canada lynx have
been found to have approximately double the levels of stress hormones as their wild
counterparts. 73 “This result is generally attributed to higher levels of stress in captivity.” 74 Again,
as noted above, “chronically high stress levels can have deleterious effects on an animal’s well
being, including the animal’s immune function, development, and reproductive function.” 75
Chronic stress may also decrease individual fitness by muscle atrophy. 76 The “absence of chronic
stress” is a prerequisite of animal welfare. 77

In 2013, researchers performed “an exploratory analysis of housing and husbandry factors
that may affect stress physiology in captive Canada lynx” by measuring the biochemical stress
marker fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (“FGM”) in 45 captive lynx across 22 institutions.78
Researchers identified three factors that were “strongly correlated” with stress response: (1) total
area of enclosure; (2) sex of cage-mates; and (3) number of hiding locations. 79 During the course
of the study “one male was moved to a larger enclosure at the same institution and FGM
concentrations decreased notably following the move.” 80 Researchers ultimately concluded that,
“bigger enclosures are likely better for lynx well-being.” 81

68
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis), Endangered Species, Mammals (June 25,
2018), https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/canadaLynx.php.
69
Id.
70
USDA Forest Service, The Scientific Basis for Conserving Forest Carnivores: American Marten, Fisher,
Lynx, and Wolverine in the Western United States, General Technical Report Rm. 254, 82-83 (1994).
71
Id.
72
Breton & Barrot, supra n.5 at 67.
73
Kerry V. Fanson, Nadja C. Wielebnowski, Tanya M. Shenk, & Jeffrey R. Lucas, Comparative Patterns of
Adrenal Actvity in Captive and Wild Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis), 182 Journal of Comparative
Physiology B 157, 163 (2012), doi: 10.1007/s00360-011-0597-8.
74
Id.
75
Keay et al., supra n.6 at 234.
76
Möstl & Palme, supra n.7 at 68.
77
Id. at 67.
78
Fanson & Wielebnowski, supra n.73 at 159.
79
Id. at 163.
80
Id. at 164.
81
Id.

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The Game Farm keeps Canada lynx in tiny, barren, inadequate enclosures with minimal to
no snow cover, frustrating their natural behaviors. These conditions cause a measurable, physical
stress response in Canada lynx. The conditions at the Game Farm amount to a taking of an
endangered species. These conditions are also a public nuisance under Washington State law, as
discussed below.

II. Olympic Game Farm is a Public Nuisance under Washington State Law.

The Game Farm possesses and displays a number of other animals, including one or more
of the following mammals: arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus); yak (Bos grunniens); raccoon (Procyon
lotor); mountain lion (Puma concolor); American black bear (Ursus americanus); goat (Capra
aegagrus); fallow deer (Dama dama); American bison (Bison bison); bobcat (Lynx rufus);
Gunnison’s prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni); black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus);
llama (Lama glama); Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti); sika deer (Cervus nippon); and
coyote (Canis latrans). The Game Farm’s mistreatment of some of the animals at the facility,
along with its “take” of animals listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA, violates
Washington law and indicates that the facility is unfit to properly care for wild animals.

Washington defines “nuisance” as “unlawfully doing an act, or omitting to perform a duty,


which act or omission either annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of
others . . . or in any way renders other persons insecure in life, or in the use of property.” Wash.
Rev. Code § 7.48.120. “A public nuisance is one which affects equally the rights of an entire
community or neighborhood, although the extent of the damage may be unequal.” Id. § 7.48.130.

Violation of federal and state laws can supply the predicate for a public nuisance action.
See Miotke v. City of Spokane, 101 Wash. 2d 307, 309 (1984) (“In short, it is clear from the federal
and state statutory schemes . . . that the discharge of pollutants into state waters is prohibited
unless authorized by a permit.”); id. at 330 (finding that even though the state law provision at
issue (Wash. Rev. Code § 90.48) did not provide a private right of action, a discharge violating the
statute “constitutes a nuisance . . . and entitled plaintiffs to recover damages”); see also Tiegs v.
Boise Cascade Corp., 922 P.2d 115, 118-19 (Wash. Ct. App. 1996) (affirming jury instruction
stating that “A violation of this statute constitutes a nuisance,” commenting “Miotke’s recognition
of an action for nuisance based upon a defendant’s violation of a statute is supported by 8
Thompson on Real Property, Thomas Edition . . . .”).

In addition to the federal ESA violations described above, the following subsections
identify the Game Farm’s violation of state laws. Such violations provide the basis of a public
nuisance action.

A. Olympic Game Farm violates Washington animal cruelty laws.

“Animals have been honed and sculpted by the forces of evolution to fill a particular
ecological niche; therefore, in captivity they need to be provided with a situation that allows them

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to deploy as full a range of their capabilities as possible. Providing animals with a zero range of
possibilities could be construed as neglect by the organizations keeping them.” 82

The Game Farm’s failure to provide adequate conditions for animals in their care
constitutes a violations of Washington’s animal cruelty statute. Protected animals under
Washington animal cruelty laws include all mammals (other than humans), birds, reptiles, and
amphibians. Under the cruelty law, it is a second degree violation, and a gross misdemeanor, to
knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence: inflict unnecessary pain or suffering, or fail to
provide necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention causing unnecessary or
unjustifiable physical pain. Wash. Rev. Code § 16.52.207(1)-(2). 83

The Game Farm’s violations of Washington criminal code include, but are not limited to:

• Confining wide-ranging predatory animals, including lion, tiger, lynx, and wolf, to
undersized enclosures. Wolves kept in undersized areas, for instance, may suffer from
“diminished well-being as evidenced by pacing, aggression, nervousness, poor
reproduction, and poor care of offspring.” 84 Keeping Canada lynx in small enclosures has
been “strongly correlated” with increased production of stress hormones. 85 This
confinement violates the state animal cruelty code by failing to provide necessary space.
• Failure to provide opportunity for wolves to retreat from public view may cause “abnormal
or inappropriate behaviors and conditions such as increased agonistic interactions, diarrhea,
hair loss, decreased appetite, weight loss, reproductive failure, or maternal neglect.” 86
Wolves at the Game Farm have been observed engaging in the stereotypic pacing
associated with stress from undersized, inadequate enclosures. This failure to provide
necessary shelter, rest, and space contravenes Washington’s cruelty statute.
• Failure to provide an adequately-sized enclosure, failure to provide appropriate substrate
material, and failure to provide proper medical attention, causing or exacerbating
unnecessary pain and suffering in a Siberian tiger exhibiting lameness in the hind legs.
• The AZA Lion Care Manual states lions should be provided access to minimum sized
indoor enclosures or a supplemental heat source in temperatures below 50 °F. Failure to
provide indoor enclosures or supplemental heat sources for lions in Sequim, Washington
constitutes failure to provide necessary shelter in contravention of the criminal code.

In addition, the Game Farm’s practice of selling loaves of bread for visitors, or allowing
them to bring their own (uninspected) bread, to feed the animals is of particular concern. Along
with providing an inappropriate food source, the Game Farm permits the public to drive through

82
Law & Reid, supra n.56 at 72.
83
The code defines “criminal negligence” as “fail[ing] to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act
may occur and [the] failure to be aware of such substantial risk constitutes a gross deviation from the
standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.” Id. § 9A.08.010(d).
84
Ass’n of Zoos & Aquariums Large Canid (Canidae) Care Manual, supra n.14 at 11.
85
Fanson & Wielebnowski, supra n.73 at 159.
86
Ass’n of Zoos & Aquariums Large Canid (Canidae) Care Manual, supra n.14 at 12.

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areas containing llamas, yaks, deer, zebras, elk, and buffaloes. USDA investigators reported these
animals reaching their heads through the windows of moving vehicles to seek this bread, creating
a hazardous situation for visitors and animals alike. 87 One recent visitor to the Game Farm
observed a bull bison aggressively running off other bison and deer away from the cars.
Distracted drivers also have the increased risk of running over smaller animals, such as peacocks,
and body parts of the larger animals. The drive-through layout also prevents proper supervision of
visitors to prevent the feeding of other inappropriate or dangerous foods to these animals.

The practice of allowing the public to feed animals in zoos is no longer generally
accepted, as zoos have modernized. 88 Animal mortality is cited as “the primary reason that public
feeding has been restricted or discontinued.” 89 Public feeding has also become disfavored due to
risks of “visitors being bitten or severely injured,” as well as inter-animal aggression as they
compete for food. 90 Public feeding may “create the impression that wild animals are tame or pet-
like,” and also create a risk that visitors will use the provided food for other species that are on
controlled or specialized diets. 91

B. Olympic Game Farm violates the Washington Endangered Species Act.

Pursuant to Washington State’s Endangered Species Act, the Washington Department of


Fish & Wildlife designates the gray wolf (Canis lupus), Canada lynx (Lynx Canadensis), and
grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) as endangered. Wash. Admin. Code § 220-610-010. The Game Farm is
violating the state Endangered Species Act.

C. Olympic Game Farm endangers the public.

The Game Farm’s improper confinement of animals further constitutes a public nuisance
because it is unsafe to the public. A June 2014 USDA inspection report concerning the public
drive-through took issue with animals sticking their heads into car windows, creating potential for
direct animal contact and a risk of animal bites. 92 The inspector noted again, in April 2015:
“[A]nimals approached very slow moving vehicles seeking bread which the licensee provide to
customers to distribute from their cars. Llamas, elk, and buffalo were all observed sticking their
heads into vehicles to eat the bread . . . .” 93 In June 2015, the inspector repeated concerns with
unsupervised visitor interaction with animals. 94 Now, over four years past the June 2014 inspection

87
USDA, Inspection Report (June 25, 2014). Indeed, in the early 2000s, local news reported that a zebra
dragged a three-year old boy out of the car from which he was feeding the zebra, causing a gash on his arm.
88
Michael Kreger & Joy Ann Mench, Visitor-Animal Interactions at the Zoo, 8(3) Anthrozoos 143, 148
(1995), doi: 10.2752/089279395787156301.
89
Id.
90
Id.
91
Id.
92
USDA, Inspection Report (June 25, 2014).
93
Id.
94
USDA, Inspection Report (June 15, 2015).

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report, the Game Farm continues to sell loaves of bread to visitors and allow animals to reach their
heads into moving vehicles, endangering both the animals and the public.

USDA inspectors have also reported inadequate fencing. A February 2016 inspection found
the perimeter fence overgrown with adjacent bushes and vegetation, which can compromise the
strength of the fencing and hide damaged areas. 95 The same inspection report notes the top of the
perimeter fence bowing over into the facility, lowering the overall height, which can decrease its
strength and effectiveness in containing animals. 96 Animal escapes pose a serious risk to the safety
of the animals and the public. 97 Indeed, inadequate fencing has already cost the life of at least one
animal at the Game Farm. On May 6, 2016, an officer with the Washington Department of Fish &
Wildlife Police reported that “a cougar had gotten inside the fence at the Olympic Game Farm and
had killed a deer.”

In addition, Olympic Game Farm has created (and may still create) a safety risk to the
public by walking a cougar around the zoo on a leash. In 2009, a Game Farm employee identifying
herself as “Leanna” posted pictures of animals at the Game Farm to an online hunting forum. 98
Included in these pictures is a cougar wearing a collar (attached as Exhibit 1) accompanied by the
text: “Here is Solo, our year and a half old female cougar, she wears a cougar [sic] because she is
often walked around the farm on a leash.” 99 A current online coupon for the Game Farm, offered
on the website Localsaver, features two pictures of a cougar being walked on a leash (attached as
Exhibits. 2-3). 100

***

In sum, for the reasons outlined above, Olympic Game Farm violates the ESA and
constitutes a public nuisance under Washington state law. We urge the Game Farm to accept
ALDF’s offer, by either allowing all animals to be transferred to an appropriate and reputable
sanctuary at no cost to the Game Farm, or becoming certified pursuant to the Global Federation of
Animal Sanctuaries. If you are willing to work with ALDF to relocate the animals to sanctuary,
please contact us—or have your attorney contact us—immediately so we can begin to make
arrangements. Please direct any and all communications to Daniel Lutz, whose number and email
address are listed below. If we do not hear from you about this possible resolution, or if the Game
Farm fails to cease its violations of the ESA and Washington state law, please be advised that after

95
USDA, Inspection Report (Feb. 29, 2016).
96
Id.
97
For example, in 2007, one person was killed and two seriously injured when a tiger escaped her enclosure
at the San Francisco Zoo due to substandard height of the walls of her enclosure. Kevin Fagan, Cecilia M.
Vega, John Coté, & Marisa Lagos, Tiger grotto wall shorter than thought, may have contributed to escape
and fatal attack, SF Gate, Dec. 28, 2007.
98
The Olympic Game Farm pics, BlacktailCountry.com (Aug. 9, 2009), http://blacktailcountry.com/
forums/index.php?showtopic=263.
99
Id.
100
Coupons from Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Localsaver, https://www.localsaver.com/ferndale-
wa/active-life/olympic-game-farm?dsc=BDSP&bizid=12561113.

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60 days, we intend to file suit to enforce these laws in efforts to end the animals’ mistreatment and
suffering.

Sincerely,

ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

By:
Daniel Lutz (WA Bar No. 45708)
Staff Attorney
dlutz@aldf.org
(707) 795-2533 ext. 1066

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Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2

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Exhibit 3

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