COLUMBIA - The USDA said Wednesday it is allowing a local animal sanctuary to keep its license after passing inspection. The "D-D Farm" exotic animal shelter was cited in January for more than 15 violations, including inadequate enclosures for lions and tigers, as well as issues with sanitation and veterinary care.
Owners Dale and Debbie Tolentino have owned and run the farm for more than 20 years. They said they were both surprised and argued against the charges, saying the USDA told them they passed inspection last November. A crew from the animal rights group United States Zoological Association came to Columbia to help with the many repairs. The Tolentinos estimated the changes to the farm to cost around $30,000.
The USDA passed the farm during its inspection, but said some cage repairs were still needed. D-D Farm is asking for volunteers to help with the repairs to help save funds for the 120 different species residing at the farm. If you're interested in helping the shelter, you can find more information here.