With loud music blaring, a harnessed kangaroo was dragged onstage at a Detroit arena during a recent performance by comedian Mike Epps. Videos taken by audience members show the terrified kangaroo struggling while being held and bounced up and down by its owner, Javon Stacks.
After the videos went viral, Epps apologized for the stunt, saying he didn't mean any harm to the kangaroo and the situation had gotten out of hand. He promised to make a donation to a nonprofit wildlife organization.
But so far there's been no apology from Stacks, who owns the "educational" Exotic Zoo. He should have known he was putting the kangaroo in an extremely stressful and potentially deadly situation. Kangaroos can suffer what's known as capture myopathy, which is stress caused by, among other things, being restrained. It can lead to heart and kidney failure, and is usually fatal.
Epps had gotten the idea to use the kangaroo based on a video that recently went viral showing Stacks running with a leashed kangaroo down a Detroit street. Stacks said the children at a birthday party wanted to see the kangaroo hop, and there wasn't enough room inside the house.
Along with kangaroos, the Exotic Zoo presents shows with animals like prairie dogs, crocodiles and honey bears.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently investigating whether Stacks violated the Animal Welfare Act by mishandling the kangaroo and putting it in such a stressful situation during the Epps show.
Stacks shouldn't be exploiting and potentially harming kangaroos and other animals for entertainment purposes. Please sign the petition urging the USDA to shut down the Exotic Zoo.
Dear Mr. Young,
I am writing to ask you to shut down the Exotic Zoo in Detroit. By bringing a terrified kangaroo onstage at Mike Epps' recent show, zoo owner Javon Stacks clearly does not care about the welfare of his animals.
Stacks should be well aware that extremely stressful situations like the one in which he put his kangaroo can cause potentially fatal capture myopathy.
Please do not let Stacks continue to exploit and potentially harm exotic animals for entertainment purposes.