Numerous Violations at Cricket Hollow Zoo

Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF Staff Writer on August 18, 2014

Roadside zoos are one more travesty in the world of animal display. The zoos are usually understaffed, the facilities unkempt, and the animals suffer immensely. Often the enclosures are totally inadequate and shockingly inhumane and illegal too. Enforcement of animal protection laws requires watchdogs like ALDF to keep tabs on the federal agencies who are supposed to monitor these facilities. And sometimes, the zoos are so bad, and the legal violations so well-documented, there is little question of the proper enforcement required. And that’s why earlier this spring the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the Iowa-based Cricket Hollow Zoo for violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to provide proper care for its animals. Since filing the lawsuit, ALDF has obtained shocking records from investigations conducted by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS). These records show the zoo is also violating the Animal Welfare Act.

The USDA report states “an excessive number of flies” were prevalent throughout the entire facility and enclosures at the zoo were found to be filthy, dangerous, and causing great mental and physical suffering. For example, a female coyote with a swollen toe, a coati mundi with demonstrable hair loss, and an emaciated capybara, seem to have received little to no veterinary care. Furthermore:

  • The wolf hybrid enclosure was found with a build-up of feces and food waste.
  • Similarly, a build-up of flies and feces were found within the reptile house.
  • Enclosures lacked water, contained soiled bedding and filthy living areas.
  • Other enclosures lacked proper shelter and drainage.
  • Some housing doors lacked locking mechanisms, which could easily result in animals escaping or injuring themselves and others.

One of the most serious violations documented in the report is lack of clean, drinkable water:

  • The water within one coyote enclosure was green and had debris sitting on the bottom.
  • The water within the enclosure housing two porcupines was brown and had debris and/or feces mixed with the water.
  • The gerbils in the “reptile house” had no water at the time of the inspection; the bowl was filled with moist bedding and debris.
  • Lack of clean water for animals can cause thirst, dehydration and other medical conditions.

The report also notes that “the high number of serious noncompliant items and repeated problems” demonstrates that “the work load at the facility continues to exceed the current staffing level.”

The USDA’s inspection—May 21, 2014—came after ALDF’s 60-day notice letter, warning the zoo that an ALDF lawsuit was imminent if the zoo failed to comply with the law and continued to cause animal suffering. The zoo was therefore aware of being under the public glare, and yet still allowed these horrible conditions and the suffering of animals to continue. ALDF is considering legal action to compel the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act against the Cricket Hollow Zoo.

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40 thoughts on “Numerous Violations at Cricket Hollow Zoo

  1. pam says:

    Stop this inhumane treatment of God’s creation!!!

  2. J Mitchell says:

    Why have animals if you won’t or can’t care for them properly, whether it be a private home, a zoo or any facility? This is blatant neglect and cruelty. For the sake of all the suffering animals, those who have the power please STOP THIS NOW!

  3. Jane says:

    Close this place & put the animals in a loving, adequately staffed sanctuary!

  4. Sarah Donaldson says:

    Shut this “zoo” down! These animals belong in sanctuaries.

  5. Pamela Geier says:

    Please allow these animals at least the freedom of a sanctuary where they will be treated with respect and love. The inhumane, torturous suffering you are plying on them is wrong on every level. Have some compassion please.

  6. Pam Scholl says:

    This disgusts me…all for what??? To make money!!!

  7. Lillian Morris says:

    While most seem to think being an animals voice is presumed ‘radicals.’ I simply disagree. As a human residing on earth, such selfishness is truly sad. So called humans profiting from these beautiful creatures, well….purely cowardly behavior. It’s truly heart wrenching knowing entities as such, walk earth. May these beautiful creatures be saved and provided a better habitat.
    After all, remember those that abuse our creators creatures, you will be old one day. Imagine no water for you, wallowing in your item filth, no food, no care. Imagine you in their place. If it breaths, eats, thinks, IT is a living form. You have no right, you’re merely an excuse of a human. After all, there is nothing humane about your roadside zoo.
    May God have mercy on your choices on earth.

  8. Laurie A McRae says:

    Even prisoners on death row are treated better than these poor, INNOCENT fur children! I have a very simple question for those who run this “Cricket Hollow Zoo.” Would you do this to human children? I think not. IF YOU WOULDN’T DO IT TO A HUMAN CHILD, IT SHOULDN’T BE DONE TO A FUR CHILD…EVER…PERIOD!

  9. Roxane Rudick says:

    SHAME on you. You KNOW you’re doing these animals a great injustice. Do the right thing and give them up….NOW!

  10. Patricia Goodson says:

    How can you treat these beautiful animals like this!!! Get them out of there. close the place down. Find them new homes this has to end.

  11. danice brault says:

    The owners of this so called zoo should have to live the ssame way the animales do!!!! This place should be closed down.

  12. Lisa says:

    There is absolutely no valid reason to “buy” these animals and put them on display!. People need to STOP going to these places and supporting people and ideas like this….No Demand!!= No business!
    Wake up!!

  13. Rose Stefano says:

    Close the darn zoo and send the animals to sanctuaries.

  14. Janet says:

    I hope you get so much bad publicity off this that you are forced to shut down and distribute the animals to wildlife sanctuaries. God WILL get you. You WILL go straight to hell. And I can’t wait!

  15. Jacqueline says:

    This was heartbreaking to see,”Cricket Hollow Zoo”. The lack of care, mistreatment of these animals is an absolute crime ! These animals need to be moved out of these
    deplorable conditions. Please shut this Zoo down. Placing these animals in Wildlife sanctuaries would be a wonderful
    change of life . Please shut this place down !

  16. This is abuse and neglect of these beautiful animals!! Please Stop mistreating these amazing animals! I pray this stops and laws are followed!!!!! Shameful!

  17. Lori says:

    Stop this mistreatment and abuse now!!

  18. Pamela Beck says:

    The Bible says we are to have dominion over the animals, but we are to reign over them WITH COMPASSION.

  19. Laurie Pigeon says:

    Cricket Hollow “Zoo”, (I use the term loosely), certainly doesn’t seem phased by the violations and threats of law suits against it. They must not feel threatened. I think they need to get slapped with the law suit, in order to get the ball rolling with the USDA. Their arrogance is appalling and the animals are still paying the price.

  20. diane smith says:

    If these animals can’t be looked after properly then this zoo should be closed down & closed down now!! No animal should be left to suffer!!!

  21. Please send these animals to a sanctuay…

  22. Jeffrey Nichols says:

    There are dozens of these roadside zoos mistreating animals all over the country, but the USDA refuses to take action against them. Complaining to the agency isn’t working – we need to come up with a better strategy.

  23. Ray says:

    Don’t these people have a conscience? These animals did not ask to be there you put them where they are stop the abuse right now! How would you like to sit and eat in your own feces? Come on guys do right by these animals! The voice of the animals must be heard!

  24. Mary Conrad says:

    CLOSE it DOWN!! Blatant cruelty and neglect!

  25. Kelly Flynn says:

    Please be a voice for the voiceless. Please send these beautiful creatures to a sanctuary! They deserve so much better!

  26. CATH HARDING says:

    Please do the best thing and release these animals to a place where they will be looked after properly.

  27. Mercedes Caraco says:

    Please close that place, it is cruel and it is a crime to keep this beautiful creatures in cages, they belong in their natural habitat a WILDLIFE sanctuary!

    Zoos and circuses should be banned forever animals need to be moved out of places like that. STOP THE ABUSE OF ANIMALS AND LETS LEAVE THEM ALONE!
    people should stop attending zoos and stop wasting money to see these poor animals imprisoned, which are abused, mistreated and sometimes killed.

  28. Tracy Dodd says:

    Please send these animals to a sanctuary… No animal should be left to suffer!

  29. Kim S says:

    Release these poor animals to sanctuary NOW and shut down the scum who are responsible. If people were made to live in these conditions, change would be immediate! Animals should be treated with equal (if not more) compassion and respect!

  30. Shut down these scums for mistreating these poor animals… A SHAME. These animals must be sent to a sanctuary

  31. Sarah says:

    I personally believe that there should be no zoo’s unless they are animal conservation facilities first and foremost. I understand zoo’s are necessary to educate the public about animals from all over the world, but most of their proceeds should go toward protecting these species as a whole. Let the animals in zoos be ambassadors, but do your part to help the animals still lucky enough to live in the wild.

  32. carolyn repeta says:

    Close this abusive hell hole down!

  33. Barbara says:

    Animals should be left in their natural habitats or reputable sanctuaries. The caging of animals is not natural and should never be accepted. My heart bleeds for these animals and I am enraged at the Stupid Humans who seek profit from this torture!

  34. Beth Case says:

    Contribute all you can to ALDF, they are the only ones Forcing the USDA to do its goddamned job.

  35. Mary says:

    I’ve never liked zoos for many reasons but this is beyond abhorrent! It’s criminal and I hope they are prosecuted.

  36. Maureen Allen says:

    What ACTION can we take to help?

  37. Charlotte Stahl says:

    Where are the petitions to send to those who have the power to make the changes needed to stop this from happening at this “zoo” and anywhere else?


  39. Sergio Tariq says:

    Good luck getting these people. Needs to be shut down immediately.

  40. Lisa A Penree says:

    My heart breaks looking at these pics and reading these reports – how could this have been going on for so long? This is sooo inhumane – how in the world can anyone think this is appropriate? This must stop now.

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