After 4 days of testimony at Davenport hearing, USDA administrative law office judge to decide if Cricket Hollow Zoo certificate should be yanked

After four days of testimony pitting U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials against Cricket Hollow Zoo owners, an administrative law judge will decide later this spring if the roadside zoo near Manchester, Iowa will retain its federal license.

The hearing before the administrative law judge was held in Davenport beginning Tuesday (1/24) and included testimony from USDA Veterinarian and Inspector Heather Cole, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Compliance Investigator Doug Anderson, zoo owners Tom and Pamela Sellner and Robert Gibbens, Western Regional Director of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Fort Collins, CO.

The USDA complaint against Cricket Hollow runs more than 20 pages and cites dozens of violations of the Animal Welfare Acts (AWA) by the zoo in 2014 and 2015.

The violations "involve animal deaths, the failure to obtain adequate veterinarian care for animals, the repeated failure and/or refusal to provide access to USDA inspectors for the purpose of conducting inspections to determine compliance with the AWA and the regulations and standards, the failure to handle animals carefully, and repeated failures to meet the minimum standards for animal facilities and husbandry."

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the USDA complaint against Cricket Hollow Zoo.

The USDA complaint was filed July 30, 2015, and with completion of the direct testimony, attorneys have until early May to file closing comments in the case, after which the judge will issue a decision.

The zoo was sued in 2014 by five Iowans and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF) over mistreatment of endangered animals exhibited at the roadside zoo. The federal judge last year found the zoo's treatment of animals violated the Endangered Species Act and ordered the removal of the lemurs and tigers. When lions were added to protection under the Endangered Species Act, the ADLF and Iowa residents sought and obtained release last last year of two lions from the zoo.

Go to top