Over 400 Animals That Were Rescued From Deplorable Conditions At Cricket Hollow Zoo In Iowa Find New Homes

More than 400 animals ranging from black bears to hamsters that were recently rescued from Cricket Hollow Zoo, a roadside zoo in Manchester, Iowa, are currently finding refuge at numerous animal rescue organizations and sanctuaries.

As per a statement by Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), earlier this month the organization worked with Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL), The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS), and additional organizations to remove the animals and transport them to quarantine and triage facilities.

A statement was also issued by ARL, which as of today, is reportedly now caring for a total of 159 animals taken from the zoo, including: 40 mice, 34 rats, 15 sheep, 12 rabbits, 11 raccoons, 10 geese, 10 chickens, seven mini horses, six goats, three cats, three donkeys, two llamas, two goldfish, a turkey and a mule.

On November 25th, Iowa District Court Judge Monica Wittig ruled in favor of Animal Legal Defense Fund, finding that Cricket Hollow Zoo had chronically neglected their animals, but defendants Tom and Pamela Sellner swiftly filed a motion to stay, pending appeal, in an attempt to derail the animals’ rescue. Acting Chief Justice David S. Wiggins of the Iowa Supreme Court denied the motion to stay on December 4th, clearing the way for the animals to be rescued.

This lawsuit is the third filed by Animal Legal Defense Fund against Cricket Hollow Zoo, effectively shutting the zoo down. In a previous lawsuit against Cricket Hollow Zoo, Animal Legal Defense Fund set a critical legal precedent: that the Endangered Species Act applies to listed species in captivity, as well as those in the wild. That lawsuit, decided in 2016 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa and affirmed by the Eighth Circuit in 2018, concerned the treatment of four tigers and three lemurs.

An additional Animal Legal Defense Fund lawsuit filed in 2016 against Cricket Hollow Zoo resulted in the rescue of two African lionesses, Jonwah and Njjarra. Cricket Hollow Zoo had its exhibitor’s license revoked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December 2017 after Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the USDA for reissuing the license despite the numerous violations the government agency had issued against the roadside zoo. The owners of the zoo appealed the decision and the revocation appeal is now pending.

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