A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit between Cricket Hollow Zoo owners and The Animal Legal Defense Fund of California (ALDF)
The owners of the Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester face another lawsuit by a California animal rights group, who now is suing them for “endangering” the lives of two African lions.
ALDF had won a previous lawsuit against the zoo over the treatment of lemurs and tigers, and filed this suit focusing on the two African lions, claiming they also were not receiving proper care.
The defense fund first sued the Sellners in 2014 for the mistreatment and trafficking of protected animals. Eventually the Sellners and Cricket Hollow lost the lawsuit in February of 2015 and were ordered by a federal judge to transfer their lemurs and tigers to other Midwest animal facilities, which can provide better care for the protected animals.
In the latest lawsuit filed Monday by The Animal Legal Defense Fund and five Iowa citizens claim the Cricket Hollow Zoo and its owners Tom and Pam Sellner, are mistreating and abusing the two African lions residing at the zoo.
Lions have been classified as endangered species as of December 2014. After the judge’s order in February, defense fund officials offered to pay for the removal of the lions to accredited sanctuaries if the Sellners agreed before the suit was filed.
On Monday, the defense fund went forward, filing a new lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming the Sellners are endangering the lives of the two threatened and endangered lions by forcing them to suffer in “deplorable” conditions without access to adequate veterinary care.
The group is also seeking a preliminary injunction to immediately transfer one of the animals, a lioness named Njarra, who is exhibiting signs of severe respiratory distress and impaired mobility, in order to obtain emergency care for the animal, according to the suit.
The defense fund wants to transfer both lions to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., where they will have “world-class” veterinary care, and it will pay for transfer and their care and rehabilitation.
As an alternative, the defense fund asks the court to permit a qualified veterinarian to visit and examine the lions at the zoo to determine the next steps for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The lawsuit claims Njarra had been living with a male lion, but United States Department of Agriculture inspection reports indicate the male is no longer living at the zoo. The defense fund is investigating his disappearance.
According to one witness, Jeff Marlin, who visited the zoo on June 24, Njarra “just stood in one corner of her cage shivering even though she was in direct sunlight,” the suit claims. He also said the lioness couldn’t stand or walk properly.
“She was panting so hard that I feared she was hyperventilating, but she was too weak to move to the shade,” Marlin stated in the suit. “She just looked so sickly, we all thought she would die.”
Stephen Wells, executive director of the defense fund, said in a statement on Monday that without emergency court intervention, “we fear that Njarra is likely on her way to the same tragic and irreversible fate that befell Raoul, Casper, Luna, and Miraj — four endangered tigers who all died soon after falling ill due to lack of veterinary care” at the zoo.
In U.S. Chief Magistrate Scoles’ 73-page ruling in the first lawsuit, he said the Sellners’ violations are “pervasive, long-standing and ongoing,” and if the endangered animals were not removed, then the violations likely would continue.
In their press release ALDF claims.
On it's face this would have been a great win for Animal advocates but the fact is this is a big loss for the 300 or so animals that ALDF abandoned.
Anyone claiming that they wanted the lions out of this hell hole as soon as possible would only have to read the judges remarks and know the judge would have released the lions, knowing the deplorable conditions they were subjected to.
ALDF sold out these 300 animals for a fund raising press release.
This econd case the Animal Legal Defense Fund has won against the Cricket Hollow Zoo was completely unneccessary due to the fact they had plenty of evidence to show that ALL the animals were being mistreated and abused and living in reprehensible conditions.
Now you can use the defense that they didn't know about the Lions in 2014 which of course would be wrong.
They knew of the cruelty inflicted upon the Lions by the very fact that on ALDF's own website in the story dated June 11, 2014.
In their own story they go into great detail describing how they great they were saving these Tigers, inside the story they showed a picture of a Lion clearly looking malnutrition and defeated with flies on it's face (See the picture to the right).
The lion pictured is the very same lion, they were "Forced" to came back in 2016 to save and to produce the most recent donation generating headlines.
This proves the incompetence of The ALDF and we believe their fund raising now takes precedence over their moral obligations and mission statement toward these animals.
Click On Any Image To Open Our Gallery Viewer
This is what ALDF Saw When They Arrived At Cricket Hollow Zoo... Why Didn't They Shut This Hell Hole Down?