Farmers Inn Roadside Zoo Sued for Mistreatment of Animals
Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges violations of the Endangered Species Act and state laws
Pittsburgh, PA – The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has filed a lawsuit against Farmers Inn, a roadside zoo in Sigel, Pennsylvania, for maintaining animals in squalid conditions in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and state animal cruelty laws.
Farmers Inn holds multiple endangered animals, and other animals, in grossly deficient conditions. These include Queen Louise, a ring-tailed lemur, who despite belonging to a highly social species is kept alone in a small, filthy cage. Other ESA-protected animals were also found to be confined in cramped cages. These include Russell, a black leopard; Jack and Jill, two black bears; a gray wolf and a hyacinth macaw.
“These animals, including endangered species, are being held in conditions that are not just abhorrent but illegal,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “State and federal animal protection laws exist so that animals won’t be forced to live in these conditions. The animals held at Farmers Inn deserve to be in naturalistic sanctuary environments that allow them to engage in activities natural to their species and necessary for their health. The Animal Legal Defense Fund will seek to enforce these laws to provide that for them.”
Visitors have reported seeing animals at Farmers Inn who are sick and injured. For example, the bears — Jack and Jill — were seen in what appeared to be heat distress on a day where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees. A kinkajou — a small rainforest mammal — was seen with an injured eye. An emaciated goat, significantly stressed guinea pigs, and foxes suffering from apparently untreated mange were also observed.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is being provided with pro bono representation by K&L Gates LLP in this case.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund previously sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue — a requirement under the ESA. The organization has also offered assistance in transferring the animals held at Farmers Inn to reputable sanctuaries where their unique needs can be met, and they can thrive. Farmers Inn has thus far not responded to the offer.
Sadly, the problems at Farmers Inn are not unique. Roadside zoos such as Farmers Inn dot the American landscape, able to operate due to lack of enforcement of state and federal animal protection laws. Because the animals can’t advocate for themselves, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files lawsuits across the United States to protect animals held in these types of facilities.
Say No to Roadside Zoos
Bears, lions, and other animals languish in roadside zoos across the country. Animals live in cruel conditions, confined to small cages without the enrichment they need to lead full, happy lives. Protect animals by boycotting roadside zoos.
Fourth Circuit Enjoins North Carolina Ag-Gag LawThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit handed an important win to plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s Ag-Gag law, ruling that undercover investigations and whistleblowing are considered newsgathering activities protected by the First Amendment.February 23, 2023 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund Will Seek Justice for Abused Horse in Oregon’s Highest CourtFollowing the dismissal of Justice’s case upheld on appeal, the Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to seek accountability under the law.September 1, 2022 Press Release
Endangered Species Act Rollbacks Reversed After Animal Legal Defense Fund LawsuitU.S. District Court has ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund following its lawsuit to vacate rules imposed by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2019 under the Trump administration that weakened the Endangered Species Act (ESA).July 8, 2022 Press Release