The Humane Society of the United States Recognizes Darren Minier, Oakland Zoo's Assistant Director of Animal Care

The Humane Society of the United States
December 7, 2020
Darren Minier, Assistant Director of Animal Care, Conservation, and Research, recognized for displaying an exemplary stand against animal cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States is proud to honor nine law enforcement entities in Virginia with 2019 Humane Law Enforcement Awards. As part of a multiagency effort, these groups rescued 119 animals from Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, a roadside zoo in Frederick County.

The agencies that received the award were: the Virginia Attorney General's Office, Animal Law Unit; Spotsylvania County Animal Control; Virginia State Police; the Frederick County Sheriff's Office; the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office; the Powhatan County Sheriff's Office; Caroline County Animal Control; Louisa County Animal Control; and Halifax County Animal Control.

A judge found that the owner of this facility had “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care.” The seized animals included lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo and others. The HSUS also recognizes and thanks the Virginia veterinarians and exotic animal experts from the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, California, and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., who worked closely with these agencies and were an integral part of the success of this case.

The recipients of the 2019 Humane Law Enforcement Awards include officers who have taken an exemplary stand against animal cruelty. The HSUS works diligently to enact laws that protect all animals, and this work is most effective with the strong support of law enforcement.

“The Humane Society of the United States is proud to present the 2019 Humane Law Enforcement Award to this group of officers,” says Molly Armus, Virginia state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Cases involving this number and variety of animals are challenging, but these agencies demonstrated the highest level of collaboration and compassion to ensure that the animals were removed from terrible conditions. Virginia’s animals are safer because of their actions.”

The Humane Society of the United States is proud to collaborate with law enforcement who are making our communities safer for animals and people. To that end, we partner with officials across the country on a wide array of investigations, trainings and legislation. Our work with law enforcement officials touches upon the entire spectrum of the justice system, from sheriffs to prosecutors to offices of attorneys generals.