Rosalita's Forced to Cancel Cinco de Mayo Petting Zoo After Rabies Threat at Wash. U.
Sorry, Cinco de Mayo revelers, but Rosalita's Cantina won't have a petting zoo at it's big celebration this weekend.
PaulSteinJC via Flickr Cinco de Mayo will be even more fun without the threat of rabies-infested petting zoo animals.
The City of St. Louis Health Department pulled its approval for the petting zoo after Washington University announced a wild-born bear cub from the same petting zoo must be euthanized to check for rabies. Fourteen students let the two-month-old cub, named Boo Boo, nibble on their fingers, breaking the skin and potentially exposing them to rabies.
Pamela Walker, the director of the health department, says Cindy Farmer, the owner of the petting zoo, was not able to provide veterinary records on her animals, prompting the department to ban the zoo from this weekend's festivities. All mammals are capable of carrying rabies, and Walker says the city feared other animals may have been exposed while in Farmer's care.
"I don't think this is a life-threatening situation at all," Walker tells Daily RFT, but the petting zoo was pulled from the Washington Avenue celebration this weekend "just to err on the side of precaution."
"I think parents would wonder what the heck we were thinking to let their kids pet animals that could have been exposed to rabies," Walker says.
Here's poor little Boo Boo at his final appearance as a petting zoo animal:
Rosalita's confirmed there will not be a petting zoo this weekend, but a manager says the restaurant is looking for new children's activities to make up the loss.
No one knows yet whether the bear, which was born in the wild, is positive for rabies, but the uncertainty was enough for the health department to stop Cindy's Zoo, the petting zoo, from bringing animals to Cinco de Mayo.
The health department had already told Cindy's Zoo that no carnivorous animals were allowed at the street festival.
Cindy's Zoo did not immediately return calls for comment.