A Trip to the Zoo


Feb. 2, 1907
Los Angeles

Conditions at Chutes Park are so bad that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is making a second inspection to see whether operator J.B. Lehigh has made any improvements before his Feb. 20 trial on charges of abuse and neglect.

Chutes is nothing more than a mud-filled stockyards of suffering animals, The Times says. “The ‘park’ is a long puddle of filth, reeking with slime and mud. In the pen where three little does are confined, one of them so emaciated that it is literally hidebound, a thick green scum has formed over the stagnant pool of slime that occupies a good share of the particular part of the ‘park’ where these poor little animals are shut up.â€Â

In answer to the question of what became of the birds, an attendant replied: “Dead.â€Â

“They used to keep ’em in cages over by the entrance, but a few weeks ago they moved ’em all down [illegible] with the cockatoos and parrots and you can guess what happened. [Those?] great big birds just killed all the [illegible] off—that’s where the birds have gone to.â€Â

“A patient zebra paced up and down the narrow path at one edge of his cage, which was the only dry spot in the pen, and a big, beautiful elk beat his horns helplessly against the bars of his small quarters. His coat was matted with filth and the mud was a foot deep in his pen,â€Â The Times says.

Lehigh was found not guilty animal cruelty after witnesses testified that elk like to wallow in mud. “At times, it is in a manner necessary to their comfort,â€Â The Times says. “Elk, said one old-timer whose beard hung to his waist, like to wallow and it does them good.â€Â

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