Hearing Tomorrow on Cricket Hollow Zoo License

Posted on August 5, 2015

Federal Court Orders Hearing on Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Lawsuit under Endangered Species Act

For immediate release:


Megan Backus: 707-795-2533, ext. 1010 (office); 707-479-7872 (mobile); mbackus@aldf.org

bear-at-cricket-hollow-zoo-200pxMANCHESTER, Iowa — On Thursday, August 6, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division will hear oral arguments in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) summary judgment motion in its lawsuit against the Cricket Hollow Zoo and its owners Pamela and Tom Sellner for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. ALDF moved for summary judgment against the Zoo on June 1, 2015. As part of its motion, ALDF submitted extensive evidence of ongoing mental and physical suffering to endangered tigers, lemurs, and gray wolves exhibited at the Zoo. This evidence included USDA inspection reports and photographs documenting the Zoo’s chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act as well as expert reports authored by a foremost researcher of lemurs in captivity and Madagascar, a preeminent wildlife veterinarian who has treated hundreds of captive exotic animals, and a retired zoo administrator with several decades’ experience. The Court will consider this evidence during the hearing on Thursday.

In early June, the United States Department of Agriculture temporarily suspended the Zoo’s license to operate. According to the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA can suspend a license to operate an animal enterprise “in any case of actual or threatened physical harm to animals” or if the USDA has reason to believe that the licensee has violated or is violating the Animal Welfare Act.

When: Thursday, August 6th at 11:00am

Where: United States Courthouse

111 7th Ave. SE.
Fourth floor, courtroom 3
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Interview Opportunities:

  • Jessica Blome, Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Jeff Pierce, Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Copies of the complaint, motion for summary judgment, and expert reports are available for download.

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15 thoughts on “Hearing Tomorrow on Cricket Hollow Zoo License

  1. Claudia Fortune says:

    These “mom and pop” zoo’s need to be closed forever. They do not have the acreage or knowledge to maintain these animals. I wouldn’t treat a dog this way let alone a wild animal. This sickens me as does the Natural Bridge Zoo in Natural Bridge, VA. CLOSE, CLOSE, CLOSE these animal prisons!!!!!

  2. These animals deserve to go to a facility better equipped to be able to serve their needs & give them a better quality of life!

  3. Please release these deserving animals to a facility equipped to serve their needs & give a better quality of life & some resemblance to freedom!

  4. Theresa kisielewski says:

    Violators need to be punished according to the law. Please take action

  5. Mary Lou Bruno says:

    If the law has been broken, then the full punishment should stand. We need to send a message that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

  6. Vicki Frazier says:

    I am so glad this is finally happening…I have been watching this zoo for over 4 years and various groups, individuals and others have been asking for its closure. The animals have been treated horrible. And when i talked to the owners years ago, they thought nothing was wrong. So sad in all levels…

  7. Julie Facion says:

    I think we, as a society, are finally recognizing animal crulety and inhumane treatment as unacceptable. The dentist hobby killing the lion and other beautiful animals, the bimbo with the giraffe yesterday, the tortured circus elephants, the Sea World whales and dolphins…it’s truely time that we evolve. Good luck tomorrow. Save those babies!

  8. Nancy O'Neal says:

    It’s past time to correct this abhorrence! Justice PLEASE!

  9. Zoos are not the same no matter how much they try to make it so. The animals don’t have bats or fences and the mental condition of these animals are not good their temperament is on edge they pace back and forth or rock back and forth it’s like having a nervous break down and then if their living conditions are bad it makes matters worse–I don’t think it is worth the pain they go through.

  10. Tamara Palmer says:

    Thank you. ALDF is great!

  11. Cynthia dsouza says:


  12. Ramona Meischner says:

    You can tell these conditions are not fit for man or animal or even insect. This is just wrong on every level. Please if you’re a good human being you will have compassion and set these animals free. Red flag them so they can never own another animal as long as they they live not even a mouse. These people are heartless barbaric demons that thinks this is ok its not. Could you live like that?

  13. Priya Patel says:

    Simply heartbreaking. These precious souls need a voice and justice. Please end this once and for all.

  14. Kari Mihalakis says:

    Thank goodness. We took our daughter to the zoo several years ago not knowing how the animals were treated. We were horrified and contacted the Dubuque Regional Humane Society to see what we could do to stop the situation. They said they recivieved numerous complaints but there was nothing they could do. If the owners had any compassion they would not allow the animals to live in constant filth and cages that are to small. My daughter was around 3 at the time and she is 12 now.

  15. Suzanne Laycock says:

    I will never understand people who claim to love wild animals. Then believe it’s a good thing to keep them in a tiny cages with no room to grow and no way to experience the wild where they were born. Buying a tiger cub, then chaining it up in a dark horse trailer until it’s 3 years old. Or letting a lion go without medical treatment for years after its neck has been injured. What is WRONG with people?

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