Workers remove hundreds of animals from troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo; nearly 200 others 'missing'

Approximately 100 animals were removed Monday (12/9) from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, but workers are still searching for some 200 others that were not found during the court-ordered animal rescue operation.

The roadside zoo owned by Pamela and Thomas Sellner was found in violation of Iowa animal cruelty standards by a Delaware County District Court judge November 24 and the judge ordered removal of the 300 exotic animals from the facility. The Sellners asked the Iowa Supreme Court to stay the removal order, but the high court denied the request December 4.

"This rescue represents a massive undertaking," according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), who along with four Iowa residents filed the lawsuit against the zoo. "The animals being rescued (Monday) from deplorable conditions include two black bears, three cavies, four skunks, three coyotes, multiple raccoons, a wallaby, and three baboons, as well as numerous rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, rats, fish, and birds. Among the birds are finches, parakeets, and pigeons," according to a statement posted on the organization's web site.

ALDF workers, along with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the Wild Animal Sanctuary and other organizations had workers at the site Monday.

"Veterinarians are on the scene, and each animal is receiving a medical evaluation," the ALDF stated. "The animals will now receive the medical care that they urgently require."

It is not known what happened to the other animals missing from the zoo since the court decision November 24.

According to an article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald newspaper, animals that were at the facility November 24 and not found by rescue workers Monday included five grizzly bears, two mountain lions, a camel, a wolf and a large number of tropical birds, amphibians and reptiles.

One of two black bears rescued Monday (12/9) from the troubled roadside zoo near Manchester. Photo provided by Animal Legal Defense Fund.

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