• Officials work to find homes for animals after Yellow River Game Ranch closes

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - State officials said they will start finding new homes for some of the animals at a popular game ranch in metro Atlanta.

    The Yellow River Game Ranch on Highway 78 in Gwinnett County closed last week.

    Channel 2’s Tony Thomas visited the ranch Thursday and said throughout the day, people with cars and trucks full of food and other items pulled up hoping to find a worker, but no one was there.

    “I was just concerned about the animals’ welfare out here and if anyone was feeding them and taking care of them,” Tracy Garner said.

    The owner of the game ranch posted closed signs on the door late last week, but workers continued to show up each morning to feed the farm and exotic animals.

    The ranch was also home to Georgia’s own General Beauregard Lee, who is the South’s favorite weather-predicting groundhog.


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    Former owner Art Rilling told Thomas that attendance at the private zoo had fallen off amid complaints about animal welfare and cleanliness at the ranch.

    He said the hundreds of farm animals won’t be a problem to relocate, but finding a home for some of the other exotic animals might be tricky.

    He said he hopes people are left with good memories of the ranch.

    A state DNR spokesperson told Thomas that the agency will begin working with the owner after the new year to make specific plans for the relocation of wildlife.

    The federal Department of Agriculture is also offering to help.

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