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Lion Habitat Ranch owner agrees not to deceive consumers about fate of animals

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Dana Gentry, Nevada Current
January 3, 2024

Lion Habitat Ranch founder and owner Keith Evans has agreed to stop issuing fundraising pitches claiming he may have to euthanize the lions in his care for lack of resources. 

In a handwritten solicitation for donations revealed last year by the Current, Evans wrote “It scares me deeply to think what might happen if I can’t afford to feed” the 40 lions and other animals on site. “It’s possible they would be euthanized because they simply have nowhere else to go.”

Lion Habitat Ranch, located near the south end of Las Vegas Blvd., is home to lions who once appeared at MGM Grand, as well as their captively-bred offspring.  

Evans entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection agreeing to “not engage in any unlawful, unfair or deceptive trade practices with respect to the status of the Lion Habitat’s animals in connection with fundraising solicitation or advertising.”

The agreement, signed in December, says Evans “knowingly misrepresented the circumstances of its lions…” in violation of the state’s deceptive trade practices law. Violations may result in fines up to $5,000.  

Evans claimed the letter was written by a third party hired to solicit donations. He agreed not to mislead consumers in advertising or fundraising messages, and to approve any ads or pitches created by a third party. 

“I think a fine would have been appropriate in light of the donations and revenue he’s accumulating,” said Animal Protection Affiliates founder Annoula Wylderich, who filed the complaint with the AG’s office that led to the settlement.  

The AG’s office initially told Wylderich the United States Department of Agriculture was better suited to handle the matter, but revisited her complaint following an inquiry by the Current. 

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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