Former Monkey Jungle Employee Speaks Out Over Alleged Animal Abuse

Monkey Jungle, located in southern Miami-Dade County, is a wildlife park home to hundreds of animals, including monkeys, apes and birds. One former employee, however, is taking the role of a whistleblower to reveal alleged animal abuse.

Melanie Lustig said she posted pictures online to show the deplorable conditions in which the animals live.

She said she stopped working at the establishment "because the conditions, in general, were abysmal ... for all the animals. The animal care never really came first there.”

Lustig described the animals being in “very, very small spaces with not enough nutrition, stacked on top of each other" and "not enough ventilation.”

Monkey Jungle representatives refuse Lustig's claims and say that all animals are "well taken care of," particularly after the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma.

"Well, it’s what, it’s a matter of what you can do. You have to make sure the animals are fed and watered and you get to the cleanup when you can," Monkey Jungle owner Sharon Dumont said. “We did the best that we could.”

The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida has filed a complaint with the USDA calling for an investigation into “apparent violations” of the Animal Welfare Act. Inspection reports dating back to 2015 show no “non-compliant” violations.

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