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Zoo Fire Kills Birds, Cats, Dogs, Giraffes

A week ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about the recent events in Ohio that led to the execution of dozens of so-called “exotic” animals. My friend, whom I’ll refer to here as The Kraut, told me that he’d grown up, in Jackson, N.J., not far from someone he knew only as the “tiger lady,” whose “pet” tigers would occasionally get loose.

“We used to get stoned in the woods all the time,” The Kraut told me, “and every now and then we’d hear these noises, and we’d be, like, What the fuck was that?”

Two days later, in a town just down the road from where The Kraut grew up, a “zoo” fire took the lives of numerous animals.

The Associated Press reported: “A fire has killed a mother giraffe, its 3-week-old calf and a collection of exotic birds at a New Jersey zoo where the owner’s wife died in a fire months ago. Animal Kingdom Zoo owner Burton Sipp says three dogs and four cats also perished in Sunday night’s fire.”

I knew immediately that Burton Sipp was a scumbag.

From my first novel, ExecTV (ENC Press, 2005): “And with regard to the obvious, Dov Montana liked to say that the obvious was always the obvious.”

As far as I’m concerned, the obvious is always the obvious. And what’s obvious to me is that Sipp is a sleazy and sadistic opportunist.

A November 1993 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer tells us: “Animal Kingdom is notable not only for its residents but also for its owner, controversial horse trainer Burton Sipp. … His horse-training career came to an abrupt halt in 1984 when he was suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey State Racing Commission after being indicted by a Burlington County grand jury for insurance fraud. Sipp was accused of submitting $142,000 in inflated insurance claims on nine horses that died in his care from 1980 to 1984. The indictment was dropped after he pleaded guilty to one charge of witness tampering.”

Pennsylvania court records cite a 1973 allegation that Sipp “had badly beaten a horse,” a 1977 fine “for forging health certificates,” and more than one penalty for administering what amount to performance-enhancing drugs to race horses.

Those records also tell us: “In June of 1990, Sipp was indicted by a Burlington County New Jersey grand jury on charges of deceptive business practices and attempted theft by deception. It was alleged that in September of 1988 Sipp had staged a burglary at his Springfield pet store so that he could collect insurance money on two exotic, breeding birds which he claimed were stolen.”

And still, Sipp is allowed to exploit and endanger animals.

A WPVI-TV (Philadelphia) report — which tells us that “Sipp was in Phoenix training horses when last night’s fire started” — quoted the bastard as saying: “Whether we rebuild it or not, if I don’t get some financial help, there will be the end of Animal Kingdom.”

I urge any individual who would even consider lending money to Sipp to instead donate funds to an organization that aims to defend and protect animals from scumbags like him.


  1. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” St. Paul

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  2. David Brensilver wrote:


    It seems entirely appropriate to characterize Burton Sipp as an evil human being, doesn’t it?


    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  3. sara wrote:

    have you ever met the man? If not then please do not comment because yes she is 100% dead on…and yes he is a scum bag. anyone who has ever worked there will tell you that she is in fact right in her statement. and furthermore, Bridgette was by far the best thing that had ever happened to him and nothing coming from that mans mouth should ever be believed.

    Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink
  4. David Brensilver wrote:


    Would you please explain your comment?

    In the meantime, I’ll reserve the right to further sully the memory of Burton Sipp.


    Monday, March 5, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  5. Does not matter wrote:

    I worked for Bridget & Burton Sipp as well as lived with them. Bridget and Burton both was great to me as well as the animals at Animal Kingdom. Those animals was there life. A place like this cost a lot to run and many people to work there. People come to see animals. They come to buy pets and everyone always wants something for nothing. Bridget you are missed I am sure. May you be happy with Jesus.

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  6. David Brensilver wrote:

    Does not matter,

    I don’t know anyone named Jesus.


    Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

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