Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

EXPOSED! The last exotic cat act in Las Vegas

Posted: 27 October 2015. Updated: 28 October 2015


The Las Vegas Strip was once dominated by acts featuring lions and tigers, but one by one they have closed. There is just one left. ADI’s new video shows the extreme confinement and environmental deprivation suffered by exotic cats used as props in Dirk Arthur’s ‘Wild Magic’ show at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino.

Filmed by ADI in 2011, 2014 and 2015 the video shows Dirk Arthur’s backyard where the animals live, as well as performances at three locations in Reno and Las Vegas. The show has a history of animal welfare violations and ADI has called on the venue to cancel it.

The white tigers, snow leopard, and panther appear for only minutes onstage, but endure around six hours a day in tiny travel crates. The big cats spend almost a third of their day in these crates – just 3 feet wide by 3 feet high by 5 feet long – bathtub length.

ADI video also shows that, when not performing, the animals are warehoused in series of small cement and chain link cells in Dirk Arthur’s backyard in a residential area of Las Vegas. Approximately 7 feet high by 8 feet square each is the permanent home for one of 13 large cats, including tigers, a liger, two snow leopards, a panther and a bobcat. The tigers were observed performing the abnormal, repetitive ‘stereotypic’ behaviours which experts consider
to be indicative of stress and poor welfare.

Arthur has been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a 2013 citation at Harrah’s casino in Laughlin, Nevada for failure to provide adequate veterinary care after he declawed two juvenile tigers and a juvenile lion. This painful, often debilitating procedure amputates part of each of the cat’s toes and commonly leads to chronic health problems. Declawing is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act and prohibited by the USDA since 2006. The AVMA also condemns declawing.

The USDA also cited Arthur for hazards related to a snow leopard’s caging and a bobcat entangled in his own neck chain and fencing. Arthur has been previously cited for enclosures that are too small to allow cats “normal postural and social adjustments and adequate freedom of movement,” including the ability to exercise. After these citations were issued, Caesars Entertainment pledged not to host Arthur in his former show in Laughlin at the Harrah’s Casino.

What you can do: Send an email today to David Siegel, Founder/CEO Westgate Resorts , urging him to cancel Dirk Arthur’s ‘show.

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