Mobile Zoo Legacy Continues as Former Employee Jailed for Animal Abuse

Published by Zachary Toliver.

The Mobile Zoo—a now-defunct roadside zoo that PETA worked for years to shut down—continues to make headlines as another former employee has been charged with cruelty to animals.

Lori Wolting, a former volunteer at The Mobile Zoo, was recently jailed on 13 counts of cruelty to animals. Larry Wolting was also brought in on multiple cruelty-to-animals charges. Earlier this year, Lori Wolting took a monkey, two lemurs, and potentially many other animals from the roadside zoo after it closed down. She was keeping some of them inside her home and attempted to raise money for what she claimed would be a “sanctuary.” We couldn’t be happier that her plans fell through!

Back in May, The Mobile Zoo’s disgraced, animal-abusing owner, John Hightower, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of cruelty to animals. This was after the U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked the roadside zoo’s license in November 2016, following years of complaints submitted by PETA that led to numerous inspections and stacks of citations.

PETA has helped rescue several animals from the facility, including Joe the chimpanzee, who for two decades lived on a packed-dirt floor behind double layers of chain-link fence. Despite being a highly social animal, he spent the majority of his years completely alone.

We also assisted in rescuing Elsie, a bear who spent 20 years imprisoned at the seedy roadside zoo. She and her three cubs—Bella, Brutus, and Dusty—paced along the border of their cage so frequently that they created a dirt path. The bears were often seen panting from the unsparing summer heat. Brutus is now missing, and the facility hasn’t offered any information regarding his fate.

What You Can Do

People who care about animals should turn their backs on roadside facilities like The Mobile Zoo. Bears, big cats, primates, and other wild animals shun human contact and, in nature, are free to roam, seek out mates and companions, and claim territory. The very essence of these animals makes captivity a living hell for them.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind