Special telephone court hearing set in legal effort to help sick lioness Njjarra at Cricket Hollow Zoo

Click on image above to view the video showing the two African lions at Cricket Hollow Zoo. The video was submitted as part of a court filing seeking immediate removal of the lions from the roadside zoo.

A special telephone hearing will be held Thursday (July 21) to determine if a lioness at Cricket Hollow Zoo should be removed immediately from the troubled roadside zoo, or if a "qualified veterinarian" should be allowed to examine, diagnosis and treat the animal.

The endangered African lion is one of two at the zoo, and a video taken June 24 shows the sick and emaciated lioness named Njjarra in her cage at Cricket Hollow.

The zoo has been fined for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act over the past six years, and five tigers and three lemurs were ordered removed from the facility after a federal judge ruled the endangered animals were harmed by the poor care provided by the zoo owners.

The video was shot by a zoo visitor and the video and his testimony are part of a new court filing by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF) and five Iowa residents seeking a preliminary injunction to remove the lions from the zoo. African lions were recently added to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's list of endangered animals and they were not part of the previous lawsuit.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade, in scheduling the unusual phone hearing, stated the zoo owners Tom and Pamela Sellner do not appear to have been served notice of the preliminary injunction, which is required prior to its issuance.

"However, under Rule 65(b), 'the court may issue a temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to the adverse party or its attorney. . . if specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly shows that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result. . .'" the chief judge wrote in the order granting the hearing.

"At the hearing, plaintiffs should be prepared to address the issue of notice," Judge Reade stated in the court filing.

CLICK HERE to view judge's order concerning temporary restraining order.

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