U.S. appellate court upholds decision to remove lemurs, tigers from troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo

The federal district court decision ordering the removal of lemurs and tigers from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, Iowa, last October was upheld today (4/11) by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The federal appellate court in St. Louis ruled that Lisa Kuehl, Tracey Kuehl, Nancy A. Harvey, John T. Braumann and the non-profit animal rights group, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), had legal standing to file the lawsuit to stop the mistreatment of the animals under the Endangered Species Act.

And, the court said Cricket Hollow was not protected from legal action because it had a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). "The Animal Act thus does not provide blanket immunity to suits under the Act," the appellate court opinion stated.

The ALDF and individual plaintiffs also appealed portions of the district court decision. They sought reimbursement of $239,000 in legal costs and the authority to specify where the lemurs and tigers should be relocated.

The court ruled the district court acted properly in allowing the Sellners to direct where the lemurs and tigers should be transferred, and denied recovery of legal fees saying the awarding of such costs could be used as "a weapon to close small, privately owned zoos. . ."

The Kuehls and ALDF had argued the lemurs and tigers should have been relocated to other locations which could have provided better care.

CLICK HERE for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

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