Tragedy struck Joe – for the second time in Texas – in 1997. His brother Garold was involved in a car accident outside Dallas; his car was hit by a drunk driver. A week later, he died in the hospital. Joe was grief-stricken. The pet store wasn’t the same without Garold – it was their mutual dream and effort that was put into it – and Joe desperately needed a change of scenery.
The Schreibvogel family won a large sum of money from a lawsuit related to Garold’s death, and they wanted to use the money to commemorate their beloved son and brother. It was Joe’s idea to use this money to open the exotic animal park – a long lost dream of Garold, who had a passion for wild animals. Garold even shared with Joe at one point his dream to travel to Africa and live with the animals in the wild, in their natural habitat.