Cricket Hollow Zoo

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.

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's animals to be relocated by July 17; new locations seen as having similar shortcomings

The endangered tigers and lemurs ordered removed from Cricket Hollow Zoo will be sent to new facilities by July 17, but both locations face some of the same shortcomings cited by animal rights advocates in their federal lawsuit against the Manchester roadside zoo.

Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles ordered the endangered animals be removed from Cricket Hollow Zoo while the case is on appeal with the tigers going to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center near Centerpoint, Indiana, and the lemurs relocated to the Special Memories Zoo, near Greenfield, Wisconsin.

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.

Cricket Hollow Zoo appeals federal court ruling; status of endangered animal removal uncertain

The owners of the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo have appealed the federal court ruling issued Feb. 11 which ordered removal of the zoo's lemurs and tigers because of inadequate veterinary care and sanitation for the endangered animals.

Owners Tom and Pamela Sellner, of Manchester, filed the notice of appeal with the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis March 9. The appeal seeks to reverse the lower court decision, halt the removal of endangered animals from the zoo and lift the court's order prohibiting the Sellners from adding endangered animals to their roadside zoo.

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