Animal Protection Group Sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Pennsylvania Roadside Zoo
Animal Legal Defense Fund Alleges Inadequate Conditions and Mistreatment at Farmers Inn
Pittsburgh, PA – The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, sent notice to Farmers Inn in Sigel, Pennsylvania declaring its intent to sue the roadside zoo for maintaining animals in squalid conditions in violation of the Endangered Species Act and state wildlife protection laws.
Farmers Inn holds multiple endangered animals such as gray wolves, a ring-tailed lemur, and a black leopard in grossly deficient conditions. Queen Louise, a ring-tailed lemur and highly social species, is kept alone in a tiny, dirty enclosure without adequate food or water and without psychological enrichment objects. Additionally, Jack and Jill, two black bears, are confined to cramped enclosures with concrete floors. A visitor recently observed the bears in heat distress, lying motionless in their cage on a day when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has offered to facilitate the transfer of all animals currently held at Farmers Inn to sanctuaries where their unique needs can be met. However, the lawsuit will proceed if the owners continue to maintain the animals in illegal conditions.
“There are animal protection laws in place to safeguard animals from the types of conditions at Farmers Inn—and we intend to make sure those laws are enforced,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We urge the owners to accept our offer of assistance so these animals can live out their lives in naturalistic sanctuary environments suitable for their species.”
Photos, videos, and first-hand observations indicate animals at Farmers Inn are kept in filthy, small cages without sufficient protection from the heat and cold. Additionally, multiple animals appeared sick or injured including an emaciated goat and a kinkajou with a severely injured eye. Unsupervised patrons have been documented directly feeding the animals food that is inappropriate to their species, endangering both the animals and people.
The letter to Farmers Inn cites violations of the Endangered Species Act and Pennsylvania wildlife protection regulations that mandate the humane treatment of wild animals.
The global law firm of K&L Gates is providing pro bono assistance to the Animal Legal Defense Fund in this matter.
Copies of the letter are available upon request.
The court’s decision ensures Special Memories Zoo is permanently closed following Animal Legal Defense Fund lawsuitJanuary 15, 2021 Press Release
For years, captive wild animals have suffered in the care of traveling zoo operator Robert Sawmiller. On December 9, 2020 two wolves and a Labrador named Fancy were rescued and transported to sanctuary through legal action brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund — with the assistance of local counsel named Taylor Waters, U.S. Marshals, and the Auglaize County Sheriffs Office — executed a court order, seizing three animals from infamous wild and domestic animal breeder and broker Robert Sawmiller near Wapakoneta, Ohio.December 9, 2020 Press Release