Cricket Hollow Zoo tigers, lemurs to be transferred by summer; judge denies stay seeking delay

The endangered tigers and lemurs held at the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo should be in a new home yet this summer.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles April 29 denied the zoo's petition to stay his court order requiring removal of the animals from the rural Manchester, Iowa roadside zoo.

The removal was ordered as part of Judge Scoles' ruling February 11 that the zoo was harming the endangered animals by its failure to provide adequate veterinarian care and sanitation. The zoo owners, Tom and Pamela Sellner, were to transfer the tigers and lemurs within 90 days, but they have appealed the court decision and sought a stay of the removal order.

Citing the death of three tigers at the zoo within a 16-month period, Judge Scoles said "the record in this case supports plaintiffs' concerns regarding the welfare of the animals while the appeal is pending."

". . . the court is required to consider 'where the public interest lies,'" Scoles wrote in his decision. "The court in National Wildlife Federation versus Harvey opined that 'when an endangered species is allegedly jeopardized, the balance of hardship and public interest tip in favor of the protected species.' I agree."

The court also ordered both the Sellners and the plaintiffs (the Animal Legal Defense Fund and five private citizens) to submit by May 11 proposals for transportation and placement of the endangered animals. Judge Scoles has set a May 25 hearing to determine where the animals will be placed and how they will be transported.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the court order denying the stay request.

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