The US Department of Agriculture is working to shut down a local roadside zoo due to multiple violations.
Cicchelli Second Chance Animal Rescue and Exotics in Lake City has been cited by the USDA for over 30 violations. They were first cited with a warning in 2020 for operating without a permit. Once they got licensed the following year, violations poured in.
The USDA says several animals at Cicchelli Second Chance Animal Rescue and Exotics were denied access to water or received treatment for medical conditions. According to the report, ring-tailed lemurs were kept in an unsecured kennel in a garage that the USDA said was infested with mice.
During an inspection, the USDA said the Cicchellis repeatedly lied about signing a North American river otter as well as owning a cougar. Court documents say the Cicchellis hid the animal in their home during inspections.
The USDA determined that the Cichellis lacked the experience or knowledge to care for some of their exotic pets.
9&10 News has asked for comment, but the Cicchellis say they are out of town and unavailable for comment.
The USDA is currently working to shut down Cicchelli’s Second Chance Animal Rescue. Court documents show they could close in May 2023, if not sooner.