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Lazy 5 responds to PETA accusations

SALISBURY — Lazy 5 Ranch has drawn the ire of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has accused the roadside zoo of “ongoing, systemic animal neglect.”
But a spokesperson for the ranch, located on N.C. 150 in western Rowan County, said today that the animal rights group’s claims are exaggerated or made up.
PETA asked its website visitors last week to contact Rowan County Animal Control to “demand a full criminal investigation” into Lazy 5 Ranch.
In a press release issued last Thursday, it says owner Henry Hampton has failed to “provide adequate veterinary care to a young giraffe with severely overgrown hooves” and allowed the animal to “languish in this painful, damaging condition for more than nine months.”
Three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports from November 2010 through July 2011 cite Lazy 5 Ranch regarding the young giraffe. It says the long hooves cause an abnormal gait and put too much pressure on the animal’s heels.
Sarah Rogers, a Lazy 5 employee speaking on behalf of Hampton, said today that giraffes at the ranch walk on a gravel and limestone substrate to trim down their hooves naturally — a process that will take time.
“We do have a giraffe with overgrown hooves,” Rogers said. “She is not in any pain, and she is not walking abnormally. She is showing progress.”
USDA inspection reports from May 26 and July 7 both cite the ranch again, stating the problem has not been fixed and the local attending veterinarian was not notified.
Rogers said that’s because a vet from Ohio with special expertise attends to the giraffes. That vet has evaluated the animal with overgrown hooves “numerous times,” she said, and he hasn’t raised serious concerns.
On its website, PETA also says recent visitors to the Lazy 5 Ranch reported a dead animal left in public view, animals with seemingly untreated injuries and animals with insufficient shade and water.
Rogers said those claims are not true. If an animal dies at the ranch, the situation is handled quickly, she said. Animals are given access to both shade and sources of water, she said, and they are given vet care as necessary.
Read more in Thursday’s Post.

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