Animal rights group awaits court ruling; asks to add more evidence to Cricket Hollow Zoo lawsuit

While awaiting a U.S. District Court ruling seeking removal of endangered animals from Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, animal rights advocates have filed a motion to add more evidence in support of their case.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and plaintiffs Tracey and Lisa Kuehl filed the motion Dec. 18 asking U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles to admit U.S. Agricultural Department inspection reports on the zoo from last July and September.

The motion to allow the two USDA inspections reports from July and September into evidence was approved by Judge Scoles in an order filed Wednesday (12/30).

The inspections cited the zoo for additional violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, but neither report was released before completion of the October bench trial in Cedar Rapids. The judge is expected to issue a decision in the case within the next two months.

Zoo owners Tom and Pamela Sellner appealed the findings of the July and September inspections and the USDA withhold release of the findings until completion of the appeal. The July zoo inspection findings were posted to the USDA web site in December. The September findings have yet to be released publicly.

In the July inspection, the USDA veterinarians found five "repeat" violations including excessive numbers of flies throughout the facility, soiled and wet bedding materials, and excessive build-up of grime in the cages of non-human primates at the zoo.

The lawsuit against Cricket Hollow alleged poor care for five tigers, three lemurs and two grey wolves on display at the roadside facility.

There are some 300 animals at the zoo, which has been cited repeatedly by the USDA over the past five years for violations. The zoo was fined nearly $7,000 in 2013 for animal welfare violations and was closed for 21 days last spring after an inspection in May.

CLICK HERE to download the post-trial motion by the ADLF.

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