Humane Society wants Morro Bay Aquarium shut down

June 13, 2013

The Humane Society of the United States released a statement Wednesday asking the city of Morro Bay not to renew the Morro Bay Aquarium’s lease.

The run down aquarium is the home to sea lions, otters and other marine animals. It first opened its doors in 1960 with a lease set to expire in 2018.

morro bay aWayne Pacelle, the Humane Society president, is asking the council not to renew the lease and consider transforming the building into an education facility.

“For years, the Morro Bay Aquarium has been the source of public complaints,” Pacella says in his statement. “The facility keeps its animals in small, dingy enclosures that are inappropriate and do not educate or inspire visitors about the wonders of marine life.

“The Aquarium’s lease will soon be up for renewal. The city of Morro Bay should take this opportunity to close the outdated aquarium and replace it with a children’s museum or an interactive visitor’s center that educates people about marine life and the importance of our oceans.

“Please urge the City Council not to renew the Morro Bay Aquarium’s lease. A new facility dedicated to animal welfare would benefit marine animals and the Morro Bay community for many years to come.”

 


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awagner

As a former employee at San Simeon State Beach, I have taken an injured otter pup to the Tyler’s aquarium. No doubt they have provided a service to injured animals who needed a safe environment in which to heal. But let’s be clear that this “aquarium” has outlived its Mom & Pop quaintness and is not a “unique asset to the city.” While our society may have once accepted an exploitative carnival freak show featuring a human with genetic anomalies, we have grown in our knowledge and understanding of the delicate balance of nature and all types of wildlife. The aquarium is not a good example of how to treat animals, nor a fitting representation of the our ability to respect and work in harmony with the natural marine habitat we are fortunate to share in Morro Bay.


KimM

Someone needs to look into why the Humane Society wants to shut this aquarium down so bad. Just because it’s not huge (read: expensive to maintain) and pretty like modern facilities? That’s nonsense.


There’s plenty of evidence that the HSUS is a lobbying organization that benefits only themselves. Their M.O. is to use photographs and “secret videos” of places that look “dingy” and use them for fundraising purposes.


Look into the HSUS first and where the money really goes before harassing yet another small mom and pop operation into closing their doors.


HSUS Exposed Overview

http://protecttheharvest.com/hsus-exposed


Atlanta Investigation Uncovers Deceptive ‘Humane Society’ Agenda

http://advocatesforag.blogspot.com/2009/05/hsus-exposed.html


Shelter Killing Benefits Puppy Mills

http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?cat=9


Why HumaneWatch?

http://www.humanewatch.org/why


KimD

Or, maybe it’s because of the following:


USDA inspection report violations:

• Failure to provide food that’s free from contamination

• Failure to assure that each marine mammal receives an adequate quantity of food

• Failure to provide adequate veterinary care resulting in unnecessary suffering

In a 16 month period, the aquarium received 22 “non-compliance” violations from the USDA. Many were repeat violations.


From Dr. Gage, DVM and inspector for the USDA: “This facility has an alarming mortality rate of captive born animals that is over 90 percent for both sea lions and harbor seals. No captive born pinniped has lived longer than 4.5 years after arriving at the aquarium. These animals should be able to live easily into their 20s.”


r0y

Please, like anyone trusts the USDA! They’re so bought and paid for (worse than the FDA, I think!).


The slightest, smallest little thing gets a “checkmark” and BAM! Failure to provide…


Instead of: Hey, this place is MUCH cleaner than the bay with all the fuel spillage and waste! And you feed them regularly, too? Woohoo! I bet the otters aren’t complaining.


winedude

Two and a half hours drive north of SLO is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. THAT’s a REAL aquarium. I’ve been in Morro Bay Aquarium and it really is pretty sad. Now there are a lot of marine mammal rescue orginizations that didn’t exist when this place opened in 1960.


Rambunctious

Let me see if I understand…the Humane society is getting involved because they believe the animals are being treated in an inhumane fashion? Then why not state that with evidence in his letter. The seals are not being mistreated. I remember a time about 20 years ago when the Tyler’s were forced to return a seal back to the ocean…they first let it go just north of Morro Rock. The seal came back and barked and barked outside of the Aquarium. The Tyler’s then took the seal farther north several miles away from Morro Bay. It came back again…and this time it brought a friend with him. It was the funniest sight watching officers from the MBPD chasing the seals down the embarcadero. I think before people like Wayne Pacelle open their big mouth and start throwing their weight around they should know the facts. I’ve seen the Tyler’s rescue and rehabilitate many injured and sick seals and sea lions over the years when no one else cared a wit about them. Kind of like they were country before country was cool. Another correction…the Tyler’s do not profit off of the seals. Their profit comes from the sale of trinkets in their gift store. The fee of $2.00 or so to feed the seals goes to the care and feeding of the seals.


SLOBIRD

The humane society is so out of control. In State Assembly they are trying to eliminate the use of lead bullets in hunting. Anyone knows about hunting knows that using copper bullets does not kill an animal immediately and actually prolongs death, not so humane. This is a step away from no bullets, no hunting. They have become another ruse for causes and in most cases make no sense. Unfortunately all the bleeding hearts for animals trust the leadership because of undocumented researched comments like those stated above. They just want the $money$ to keep flowing in for yet another cause.


Rambunctious

Thanks for your comments SLOBIRD. Well said…what I find most troubling about this story is it’s timing. I don’t know the Tyler’s but it seems they have a lease agreement until 2018…five short years from now. They are in the twilight of their lives. They are very dedicated and hard working. Obviously this Aquarium has been their life and passion for decades. Why now? it seems….mean…like big brother mean.


pasoparent5

Yes, the Tylers are elderly, and may be dedicated and hard working…but that doesn’t change the facts. That place isn’t an “aquarium.” It’s a cramped, smelly, loud room w/some small hot tub-sized pools. Like wine dude said, there weren’t rescue groups around in the 60’s. There’s no rehab element to that place. Injured/sick seals can go to Pacific Wildlife or some other volunteer group.


I’m not a left-wing, animal rights, pro-Humane Society kind of person but even I think that the Morro Bay “Aquarium” should go bye bye. Go to yelp and look at the numerous horrible reviews. “This place is just a big bathtub (like another reviewer stated) for about 3-4 sea lions and seals. Poor creatures…”The entire place smells of mold and the dark lighting is frightening…” Or “None of the other aquariums I’ve ever seen are this tiny or barren…” Real reviews by real people and the consensus is: shut it down.


r0y

…and the Prado Day Center isn’t the Hilton… what’s your point, again?


KimD

The fact that the seal came back to the aquarium is a sign that s/he wasn’t properly rehabilitated. That’s certainly nothing to be proud of. The amount of care and resources to properly rehabilitate are extensive (see, for example, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/health/release_criteria.pdf).


Here’s some evidence that the Morro Bay Aquarium is not adequate and the seals/sea lion are not receiving the care they need:

USDA inspection report violations:

• Failure to provide food that’s free from contamination

• Failure to assure that each marine mammal receives an adequate quantity of food

• Failure to provide adequate veterinary care resulting in unnecessary suffering

In a 16 month period, the aquarium received 22 “non-compliance” violations from the USDA. Many were repeat violations.


From Dr. Gage, DVM and inspector for the USDA: “This facility has an alarming mortality rate of captive born animals that is over 90 percent for both sea lions and harbor seals. No captive born pinniped has lived longer than 4.5 years after arriving at the aquarium. These animals should be able to live easily into their 20s.”


I’m glad the Humane Society is stepping up and taking a stand against this inadequate facility.


coco oil

Ha HA! You are really funny with your false info. You stated that no seals have lived longer then 4.5 years? I worked at the aquarium in ’97 and Maggie is still there! She has been for 27 years! Kenny was there for 10 years! I personally know the Tyler’s. They do what they can for these animals.New laws have tied their hands from rescuing seals.How do you know how they care/cared for the seals? Just more false accusations from people that don’t know the facts.Please know what you are talking about before you go around spreading false info!


KimD

As far as getting facts straight, firstly, Maggie is a sea lion, not a seal. Secondly, I did not state that. I was quoting Dr. Gage, DVM. If you dispute that information, perhaps you should take that up with him. The track record of the care for the animals is very clear from the inspection reports, which are public record.


Rambunctious

Kim the incident of the run away seal was over two decades ago before any national rehabilitation standards were in place. The Tyler’s I’m assuming did the best they could under the circumstances. I can’t speak to the longevity of a seal being held at the aquarium. I do know that over the past two years an increasing number of seals are being found on beaches half starved all up and down the California and Oregon coast. If anyone thinks that this is a good time to release these seals then I would like to hear your reasoning. I’m not sure what kind of rehab would make a seal want to stay away from the Aquarium but I’m no expert like Wayne Pacclle. The question still stands…why now?


KimD

Given the length of time these marine mammals have been in captivity, and the way in which they’ve been held in captivity, it’s unlikely that they’d be able to be released into the wild. However, there are many other facilities that would offer a more suitable placement, including a greater amount of space, enrichment, and the ability to have a reprieve from the public (as opposed to being several feet away from the public during all operating hours).


Why now? Because the aquarium’s release is up for renewal so concerned citizens all over the globe are asking Morro Bay officials to do the right thing and re-purpose the space.


Rambunctious

It’s up for renewal in five years…again…why now?


Rambunctious

my mistake I meant to say they have a valid lease until 2018


KimD

Because the renewal process starts long before the lease is actually up (i.e., now).


Rambunctious

I understand…


r0y

No offense, but you sound like a freshly-indoctrinated college youth looking desperately to find a personal cause in this. Red flags went up for me, as I read your posts. Sorry.


coco oil

Yes, you are right! People just don’t know the facts! The Tyler’s can no longer rescue animals,due to new laws.These people act as if the seals are bleeding and dying right before their eyes! Give me a break! How about using all this negative energy they are putting into these posts,and have a fund raiser to help raise money to remodel the place if they are so concerned!


r0y

Because that is NOT how the “youth” of today is indoctrinated. You’re actually advocating DOING something other than organizing and complaining! Wow!


KimD

Even if there was enough space to build an adequate facility on the plot of land on which the aquarium currently sits–which there isn’t–it would costs millions to build an adequate facility. Do you honestly believe a few people organizing a couple fundraisers would be able to raise that level of funds?


Maybe the “youth” today are simply realistic and can see that the solution is to place the marine mammals in a facility that is well-suited to their needs.


coco oil

And how is this place not well-suited for their needs? So I guess you should complain about zoos all around the world! Now you know how much it will cost to fix the place up?! Well,

do you run the place,too!


Pelican1

This place has always reminded me of a circus side show that hasn’t changed since I first visited 40+ years ago. It’s time to build a new aquarium, one more accommodating to wildlife.

It’s sad that this place is even called an aquarium.


tomsquawk

sigh, i share your opinion, but rebuild with what money? groan.


kayaknut

How about public unions pensions fund


r0y

I can concur here. I’d love to see a new place built, but like the environmental laws, the building codes have also grown so obscene that there would be no way to affordably do it and have money left over for operations.


I will do my part, and take my kids this weekend and buy a bunch of trinkets in their shop to keep them going.


ironyman2000

When I first walked by that place more than 3 decades ago I heard the wails of those animals. The one

time I went in I left feeling sick to my stomach. That facility imprisoning those helpless animals in such

an unnatural environment was so incomprehensible I still have difficulty keeping it in my head.

The owners past and present should be sentenced to live the rest of their sorry lives behind those very

bars. Every city council member who condoned this or who turned a blind eye needs to join them.


OsborneCox

If the place gets shut down, I hope it’s not ’cause of anything Wayne Pacelle said. He is detrimental to animal-rights advocacy in the way FOXNews is to broadcast journalism… he builds ratings by appealing to the emotions, and not the rationale, of his followers.


tomsquawk

“The Morro Bay Aquarium was built in 1960 and is family-owned by Dean and Bertha Tyler. The Morro Bay Aquarium became a rehabilitation center for distressed mammals in 1984 and is a non-profit organization.”


Can this be right? Non-Profits aren’t typically owned by individuals, they are owned by the public. There should be public filings for a non-profit which may give some insight. Second question; who owns the property and does the museum want to renew the lease?


r0y

Wh-wh-what?!


tomsquawk

if it’s a non-profit then public records are accesible. when you become a 501(c)3 the public owns it, not you. there seems to be some confusion here. it’s a small place with big challenges. but let’s get to the top.


r0y

Sorry, tomsquawk, but 501(c) status does NOT mean it is “public owned” in the slightest! You may wish to review IRS publication 557 to learn about organizations and private foundations.


You may be thinking of Government Entities (lands, building, etc) which are generally considered “publicly owned” (although in todays climate, it may not seem like the government is the public…)


Also, the records of a 501(c)3 may NOT be accessible (other than articles of incorporation, board members, etc.) – especially if said charity takes in less than a certain amount (I think it’s $250K/year – I could be wrong on the figure), then they do not need to file.


tomsquawk

read your publication. they all file, regardless. btw there are 113 registered non-profits in Morro Bay


fourthandlong

Not sure where you came up with the idea that 501(c)3 also means it is owned by the public? Owned by the public would mean it was owned by the government, which is not the case for 501(c)3’s.


tomsquawk

it’s owned by supporters/donors. try and liquidate one and see the machinations. what i did is note that it is “prvately owned” and a not for profit. i questioned that statement. can we clear this up? thanks


SanSimeonSam

AMEN…But why wait, get the health dept in there now and shut it down…Or get that bum in the wheel chair that sued everybody a few years back to go there and sue for ADA. If he gets stuck they can call for John Ryan Mason to rescue him.