Animal Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit Aims to Rescue Remaining Animals from Iowa Roadside Zoo
Complaint alleges Cricket Hollow Zoo routinely violates state cruelty laws by neglecting hundreds of animals
Des Moines, IA – The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Iowa residents against Cricket Hollow Zoo, for chronic violations of state animal cruelty laws. Cricket Hollow Zoo has a long history of keeping animals in inhumane and illegal conditions.
After multiple legal challenges by the Animal Legal Defense Fund that revealed Cricket Hollow Zoo’s persistent neglect of its animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revoked Cricket Hollow Zoo’s exhibitor license and issued a $10,000 penalty in November 2017, which Cricket Hollow Zoo has appealed. More than 200 animals remain at the facility.
“Cricket Hollow Zoo’s abysmal track record makes it clear that its owners are not capable of properly caring for any animal,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Their flagrant disregard for federal and state animal protection laws cannot continue without consequence, and we will pursue every legal avenue available to rescue and protect the animals languishing there.”
The complaint alleges Cricket Hollow Zoo consistently fails to abide by the state’s animal neglect standards as documented in dozens of USDA inspection reports. Inspection reports spanning years detail animals suffering in filthy enclosures without adequate food, water, or veterinary care. The lawsuit seeks to rehome the animals to sanctuaries and permanently enjoin Cricket Hollow Zoo’s owners from confining animals in inhumane and unsafe conditions.
Endangered animals, including tigers, lemurs, and lions, were transferred to other facilities after the Animal Legal Defense Fund brought lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act. In April 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed that the zoo’s grossly inadequate care of endangered animals violated the Endangered Species Act. Considering Cricket Hollow Zoo’s well-documented deficiencies, the new lawsuit requests the owners be permanently barred from obtaining any wild animals in the future.
Cricket Hollow Zoo is a prime example of the cruelty and neglect common in roadside zoos. The Animal Legal Defense Fund files lawsuits across the United States to protect animals in facilities that do not meet the minimal standards required by the Animal Welfare Act and state cruelty laws.
Court Holds Cricket Hollow Zoo Owners in Contempt for Removing Animals Designated for Rescue in Violation of Court OrderToday the Delaware County district court granted a motion for contempt filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund against Cricket Hollow Zoo and its owners, Pamela and Thomas Sellner, seeking the whereabouts of more than 100 animals who “disappeared” prior to a court-ordered rescue.October 5, 2021 Press Release
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled in favor of plaintiffs represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in a lawsuit against Cricket Hollow Zoo for violating state animal cruelty laws following an appeal of the court’s 2019 decision.August 5, 2021 Press Release