Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Wild animals are not prom props!

Posted: 14 May 2018. Updated: 15 May 2018


On May 11, 2018, Christopher Columbus High School in Miami-Dade County, Florida, decided to feature live animals, including a tiger, lemur, fennec fox, and numerous birds at its prom, which was held at the Doubletree Hilton Miami Airport.

The event displayed blind apathy to wild animals’ needs and to everyone’s safety. Obvious signs of animal stress were ignored, including the tiger’s pinned down ears, thrashing tail, and repeated pacing, as entertainers displayed fire acts and kids passed around animals for photo opportunities.

The reported animal provider – Wild Animal World – has a litany of Animal Welfare Act violations, including incidents where young children were mauled. From a 2009 Default Order assessing a $56,500 fine for 15 violations there alone:

“The gravity of the violations alleged in this complaint is great. They include the unsafe exhibition of dangerous animals, which placed both animals and people at risk, and resulted in injury to children and animals.”

ADI has presented evidence of these violations to the school, the Doubletree Hilton (the venue), the FL FWC, and the USDA.

After global outrage and an initial lukewarm statement, the school noted regret – let’s hope this becomes a learning opportunity for students and educators alike, toward empathy and understanding. Wild animals belong in the wild, not at proms.

© Animal Defenders International 2019