The owners of a petting zoo and farm in New Jersey were angry when a group of teenagers broke into their farm and took photos to post on social media. The incident took place at Abma Farms in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

Owner Jimmy Abma said he became aware of the incident when he saw a photo of a girl riding a donkey on Snapchat.

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The farm posted an update on Facebook about the incident. “We must explain the seriousness of this break in,” Abma Farms posted on their Facebook page in the aftermath of the trespassing and break in. “First and foremost, we are a working farm, and four families (and four generations) live here. This is our home. Second, from a human safety standpoint, breaking in to animal pens with no animal training is dangerous. Animals can kick, rear up, and trample you. In the dark, anything can happen. Third, the safety of OUR animals has been compromised and that IS. NOT. OKAY. Our animals are now shaken and skiddish (sic) compared to their normal relaxed nature. This is very troubling to us. A couple of our animals got loose from gates left open but after thoroughly searching this morning, all animals are accounted for.”

Veterinarians checked the animals and made sure they were safe after the break-in, according to a post on Facebook.

Abma told local news station WABC, “All the gates were open in the pens, a couple of the animals you couldn’t even get close to. They were all skittish, they were all jumping around. This our house. This is our yard. This is our livelihood. With something like this, it is almost like you just get sucker-punched in the side and you really have to go around saying ‘is it really worth it? Do I really need to keep my zoo open for all these frustrations?’”

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While the situation was incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for the animals, zoos are also harmful to animals. Zoos are stressful environments for animals as they have to live in small enclosures, constantly being watched by crowds of people. Many animals suffer “zoochosis” as a result of their lives at zoos. This includes, “self mutilation, vomiting, excessive grooming, coprophagia (consuming excrement), along with anxious tics that we might see in distressed humans such as rocking or swaying, excessively pacing back and forth, random biting, and twisting or nodding of the neck and head.”

Read more about petting zoos in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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