Kamloops community steps up to help much-loved petting zoo targeted by vandals - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
11.9°C

Kamloops community steps up to help much-loved petting zoo targeted by vandals

Vandals broke the food box and threw the bags of pellets into the petting zoo enclosure, which was discovered the morning of July 12.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Al Threatful
July 16, 2020 - 7:00 AM

After multiple instances of vandalism at a beloved Kamloops petting zoo, the community has come together to put a stop to it.

The Little Farmers Petting Zoo in Westsyde Centennial Park provides self-serve food for the animals and operates by donation to an honour box. On the evening of July 11, vandals broke into the honour box, knocked over a sign, took all the bags of goat food threw them into the enclosure.

The next morning, some Westsyde residents saw the mess and posted pictures to social media, sparking outrage.

"I think many locals of Kamloops can agree that the Westsyde Petting Zoo is the perfect spot to take our families," Westsyde resident Yvonne Hawkings said. "To watch it be continuously vandalized and to see the owners tirelessly rebuilding each time is heartbreaking."

Previously, vandals broke into the honour box March 6 and in late February, and smashed a kiosk window March 15.

She set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the zoo in the hope they could purchase a security system to catch future vandals.

"We love this part of our community and want to show that love by supporting and protecting what they’ve built for us all to enjoy," Hawkings said.

After seeing photos of the most recent vandalism, the owner of a local security company decided enough was enough.

"I was like, that’s it. We can just (put) some cameras here and next time somebody does that we’ll identify them, and shame them or whatever we need to do," Nathan Carne, owner of Clear Security said.

Vandals broke the food box and threw the bags of pellets into the petting zoo enclosure, which was discovered the morning of July 12.
Vandals broke the food box and threw the bags of pellets into the petting zoo enclosure, which was discovered the morning of July 12.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Al Threatful

He said he is willing to donate all the cameras and provide his services to the zoo for free. 

"The petting zoo is a big deal in Westsyde, and really Kamloops," Carne said. "Even when I didn’t even live here I used to go there."

Carne is working with another local security company, Peace of Mind Systems, who are interested in donating their services as well.

Dale Nyeste with Backwoods Offroad and Josh Friesen with Spark Industries have also offered to help out as needed, either by donation or providing repair services.

After receiving the outpouring of support from the community, Little Farmers Petting Zoo owner Al Threatful is confident that what he does is making people happy.

“People have told me that it’s important to Westsyde," Threatful said. "You know then, concretely, that people do think it’s valuable and do think it’s worth doing. So that makes a person feel good."

The petting zoo has been operating in that location for almost thirty years.

"We used to run a daycare, way back in the early days here," he said.

Now, some of the kids come to visit Threatful as adults, and bring their own children to see the animals too.

While he hopes installing security cameras will deter future vandals, he said they will serve another purpose too.

"The security stuff, it’s not all about catching the bad guys," Threatful said. "At some point in the future, we want to have a live stream."

The videos would be streamed online and capture some of the special moments at the zoo that would otherwise be missed, like the baby goats being born. The zoo is currently home to pigs, goats, chickens, pheasants, alpacas, peacocks, emus and ducks. 

Going forward, Threatful's biggest priority is ensuring the petting zoo can be enjoyed by the community even after he's gone.

"I don’t want this to ever go away," he said. "When I’m gone, if I don’t have it set up so it can stay properly, it’ll just be torn apart and they’ll put duplexes down here."

He said that while that could be profitable venture, to him owning the property has never been about the money. 

The zoo is the last piece of what was once a 20-acre farm, and Threatful hopes it can be preserved for future generations. 

As the security equipment will be provided to the zoo for free, the money raised through the GoFundMe Page will be donated to Threatful to support operating costs, Hawkings said.

Since its creation on July 12, the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $1,100. That doesn't include other donations sent in directly to the petting zoo. 

The zoo is located in Centennial Park on Franklin Road in Kamloops, and is open during daylight hours seven days a week. 

To donate to the GoFundMe page for the Little Farmers Petting Zoo, click here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020
iNFOnews

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile