Animal Legal Defense Fund

Cricket Hollow Zoo faces criminal investigation over treatment of lion removed from Manchester facility

An animal rights group has asked the Delaware County Sheriff to file criminal animal cruelty charges against the Cricket Hollow Zoo owners over care of a lioness rescued from the roadside facility near Manchester, Iowa last August.

Cricket Hollow Zoo lions relocated to wildlife sanctuary after settlement of federal lawsuit

The two remaining endangered animals kept at Cricket Hollow Zoo – African lionesses named Jonwah and Njjarra – have been relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado after settlement of a federal court lawsuit filed against the zoo by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and five Iowa residents.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, with veterinary support from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, took custody of the two lions after the settlement was reached with zoo owners Pam and Tom Sellner of Manchester, Iowa, according to a news release issued by the ALDF today (Aug. 3).

Judge orders lioness exam by animal rights group vet; sets expedited trial on lion removal from zoo

A federal judge today (July 21) ordered the examination of a Cricket Hollow Zoo lioness and set an expedited trial date for August 1 to determine if the two African lions should be permanently removed from the roadside zoo.

In an unusual telephone hearing, Chief Judge Linda Reade of the U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids ordered the zoo allow a Colorado veterinarian with experience in the care of lions examine the lioness Njjarra.

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.

Animal rights group, Iowa residents appeal Cricket Hollow Zoo ruling over attorney fees request, animal relocation site and illegal trafficking claim

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Iowa residents who won their federal court case in February against Cricket Hollow Zoo have now appealed the judge's decision to not award attorney fees, allowing the zoo owners to choose where the zoo tigers and lemurs were relocated, and for failing to address one of the lawsuit claims the zoo engaged in unlawful trafficking of endangered animals.

Group seeks emergency court order to remove African lions from troubled roadside zoo

An Iowa man visiting the Cricket Hollow Zoo with his two children June 24 says in court documents one of the roadside zoo's two lions "was in such a terrible condition that both children and myself feared that she would die at any moment."

"We didn't need to get too close to her cage to know that there was something terribly wrong with her, because she just stood in one corner of her cage shivering even though she was in direct sunlight," Jeff Marlin, of Hiawatha, Iowa, testified in a court filing seeking immediate removal of the now-endangered animals from the troubled zoo near Manchester.

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.

Animal rights group awaits court ruling; asks to add more evidence to Cricket Hollow Zoo lawsuit

While awaiting a U.S. District Court ruling seeking removal of endangered animals from Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, animal rights advocates have filed a motion to add more evidence in support of their case.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and plaintiffs Tracey and Lisa Kuehl filed the motion Dec. 18 asking U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles to admit U.S. Agricultural Department inspection reports on the zoo from last July and September.

The motion to allow the two USDA inspections reports from July and September into evidence was approved by Judge Scoles in an order filed Wednesday (12/30).

Cricket Hollow Zoo lawsuit gets underway in federal court this week; bench trial expected to last a week

Testimony begins Monday (10/5) in a federal lawsuit seeking to remove endangered animals from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, Iowa.

The lawsuit by the Animal Defense Legal Fund (ADLF) and two Iowa residents alleges Cricket Hollow Zoo owners Pamela and Tom Sellner provide poor care for five tigers, three lemurs and two grey wolves on display at the roadside facility.

The bench trial before Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles in U.S. District Court, Northern District, is expected to last a week.

USDA slow to certify its own reports; delay stalls lawsuit seeking closure of troubled eastern Iowa zoo

A lawsuit seeking closure of a troubled Manchester, Iowa zoo for Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations has been stalled by failure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to certify its own inspection reports released last year through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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