MAYVILLE – Twenty wild animals, including tigers, lions, bears and wolves, were seized from the 54-acre JNK’s Call of the Wild Sanctuary on Mill Creek Road in Sinclairville on Tuesday by state, federal and international conservation agencies, the New York State Police and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the 17-year-old sanctuary had its federal license for the possession, importation and sale of non-native wild animals canceled in February, a month after the DEC refused to renew the sanctuary’s special licenses.
According to the DEC, three of the last four inspections of the Sinclairville sanctuary by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service led to unsatisfactory ratings due to what were described as “repeat deficiencies related to housing and care of the animals.”
“Ending the illegal possession of dangerous, wild and exotic animals and ensuring the safety of the public is a top priority” of her agency, said Abby Snyder, DEC regional director, in a statement.
“I would like to thank our federal partner, USDA, and especially the tremendous efforts and assistance provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in locating the several organizations that agreed to permanently house the animals,” seized today, Snyder added.
All 20 animals – 12 tigers, three lions, three bears and two wolves – have already been permanently placed in licensed facilities located outside of New York State, she said.
The DEC is proceeding with enforcement action against the owners of the seized animals and the JNK Facility and its operators, Snyder said. Calls to the Sinclairville sanctuary Tuesday evening were not answered.
According to the JNK’s Call of the Wild Sanctuary website, it was founded by Jackie and Ken Wisniewski about 17 years ago as a privatelyowned facility by “owners with a deep love for animals” including tigers, lions, beers, wolves foxes and “non-exotics such as dogs, cats and horses.”