Close Down Cruel Roadside Zoo in Northern Virginia

Target: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Goal: Shut down the Reston Zoo following its record of animal abuse and neglect

Roadside zoos are notorious for not always maintaining proper animal welfare standards.  One northern Virginia zoo, the Reston Zoo of Vienna, has had a slew of violations.  This place made headlines in 2012 when zoo director Megan Mogensen was arrested for drowning an injured wallaby. This isn’t the only animal rights issue the zoo has faced.

Exotic animals such as monkeys, zebras, and leopards can be found on site, but the enclosures are completely unfit for these or any other types of animals.  The zoo grounds are dingy and unsanitary, and the structures separating the animals are not sturdy or professional.  Northern Virginia has seen blizzards and extreme cold over the past few years, and the animals are not properly housed to protect them from extreme weather conditions.  Most recently, a spider monkey was found injured and frostbitten, with no professional veterinary help given.  Unidentified euthanasia has been found on-site, and employees at the zoo are not trained or certified to handle medical treatment or euthanasia of any kind.  All of this adds another level of fright after the infamous drowning incident.

Shockingly, this zoo is still open for business.  The zoo director may have been arrested and fined, but this is not enough.  The Reston Zoo must be closed permanently, with the animals sent to proper sanctuaries.  Please write to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and ask them to revoke the Reston Zoo’s license to operate.


Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture,

Your past inspections of the Reston Zoo, a small roadside zoo in Vienna, Virginia, have uncovered multiple animal rights violations.  The zoo is unfit for housing animals, so I ask that you permanently remove their license to operate.

Last year, zoo director Megan Mogensen was convicted of animal cruelty when he held a wallaby underwater until it died.  Before the drowning, the animal reportedly had a severely injured eye for which no treatment was sought.  A monkey was also found with severe frostbite and injuries on his hands and feet, again for which no medical treatment was sought.  The USDA also found euthanasia on the zoo grounds during a past inspection, even though the Reston Zoo is not licensed or trained to handle those kinds of materials.  The zoo is cramped and dirty, with conditions completely unsuitable for animals.

It is sad to know that this business is still operating.  I fear for the future welfare of the animals at this facility.  This is why I beg you to re-evaluate the Reston Zoo and remove its license to operate for the sake of these animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ellenm1 via Flickr

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  1. “Compassion is the chief law of human existence.”
    Fyodor Dostoevsky


    People need to vote unacting dumb authorities and officials acting irresponsibly to futuregenerations out of occupations NOW AND FOR ALL!

  2. ressa brady says:

    disgusting close this abomination down quickly!

  3. People like that.. should be shot in the head. Ban shit like this from happening. i don’t understand what is so attractive about BS like this.

    sickening just sickening. i wouldn’t bother with government.. (useless and worthless really) gang up and find that guy and then make a roadside zoo out of him..

  4. People need to stop frequenting these zoos, if there is no demand then perhaps they will close down and the animals can go to a sanctuary or rescue centre.

  5. betty j murphy says:

    AGREE completely!!!!!!!!! SHUT THEM ALL DOWN and BAN them COMPLETELY!!!! Banning is the only answer!

    • Frank Dombrowski says:

      Yes, and then you will be the first to start screaming that there are no more animals for you to visit. Banning is not the answer, education is. I have worked in the exotic animal business for 40 years and it can be done properly. We don’t have to let the government take away all our rights.

  6. Pattie Reber says:

    I cannot imagine a woman in Reston keeping this hideous affair going. I lived in Reston for several years. It is good community, and its people mostly intelligent and progressive. How did this “zoo” get started, and WHEN will these poor creatures be liberated and Miss Megan hanged, drawn and quartered?

  7. Michael Guest says:

    Unacceptable. That’s animal cruelty. Close this unnecessary zoo and shut it down for good.

  8. Roadside zoos should be illegal.

  9. Angela Wagers says:

    I agree…if there is no DEMAND then there is no SUPPLY!!! DO NOT encourage the demand of this type of incruelty

  10. MariaK23 says:

    Roadside zoos are a blight to the communities they reside in. Unfortunately, parents who can’t figure out how to entertain their offspring are desperate to entertain them, so they take Junior to the local pit of despair so s/he can see the animals. If these parents would stop and think for a moment perhaps they could find a better activity for the kids. For older kids, going to the local shelter to spend time with the homeless animals is a far better use of time and a far greater lesson for young people.

  11. nicky matthews says:

    no argument-excepted -this must be closed down right now-no excuses-no reason to be anything but CLOSED –

  12. KatWrangler says:

    Close down all these horrible places now. Send the animals to quality sanctuaries. Many of these sanctuaries give tours. Let children see clean, caring environments so they learn to respect animals, and not see them as mere entertainment.
    There’s nothing entertaining about roadside zoos.

  13. Myrna Burdick says:

    Yes, women can be cruel, too. But, such a trashy road side
    zoo probably makes so little money there is no money for Vet. services.
    This abomination as a way to exhibit animals should not exist. Don’t expect the USDA to do anything, look at their involvement in puppy mills. They have obviously been told
    to ignore such situations, after all, “they are only animals”.
    We need to do it, get public opinion moving thru exposes and it will happen.

    • Myrna Burdick says:

      If YOU do a little research- look at the Reston zoo’s web
      site. Quite a nice website and an obvious way to get the public into their “zoo”.
      The Mogensen family has quite a history of operating zoos in this country. The grandfather, father and Mehgan (age 26)
      all have histories of non- compliance in the provision of safe places for animals.
      Reston Zoo has 30 acreas, which does not sound too bad, BUT,
      the animals on site might include the following: Antelope, Alligator, Birds, Bison, Camel, Deer, Goats and sheep (for petting), Kangeroo, Llama and Alpaca, Ostrrich, Rea & Emu,
      Porcupine, Wildebeast, Cloud Leopard and Zebra.
      Even if they only had half of these animals, 30 acres is
      way too little space for such a group of diverse animals. The cost of food to meet each specific animal’s needs would
      have to be prohibitive.
      This is a family who got into “animals” as a way to make a
      living for themselves, first and foremost. They are NOT accredited by the professional group that sets up standards
      for animal care.
      The address for the place is 1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna, VA. Phone # 703-757-6222,’

  14. To me, animals are like children. They are vulnerable and unless they are wild, they need compassionate people to look out for them. And betweentimes, we have to work at evolving the public’s attitude away from using animals this way.

  15. What the hell is “unidentified euthanasia”?

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