For Immediate Release:
October 14, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Cumberland, Md. – Today, PETA concluded a five-day rescue operation involving 65 animals of 30 species—the group’s largest-ever rescue of animals from a roadside zoo—following a legal settlement with Tri-State Zoological Park that forced the notorious outfit to close after years of violations and allowed PETA to rescue survivors of chronic neglect. Rescued animals include a squirrel monkey who was called Spazz, in a cruel reference to his frantic, stress-induced behavior, likely caused by the 20 years he spent in solitary confinement surrounded by natural predators in a reptile house. PETA had previously rescued three big cats and three other animals who had been housed at the roadside zoo, bringing the total number of animals PETA rescued from Tri-State to 71. Photos of some of the animals rescued from Tri-State this week are here.
PETA enlisted the help of 14 reputable sanctuaries and accredited zoos from Maryland to California, which agreed to care for the animals, including bears, exotic birds, a Bengal cat, alligators, coatimundis, and others. A full list of these facilities is available here.
“Tri-State spent years exploiting vulnerable animals and allowing suffering ones to rot there, but now these survivors will be able to live in comfort and safety, with the care they’ve long been lacking,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “Thanks to PETA’s hard-fought lawsuit and over a dozen facilities that offer topnotch care, one more shoddy roadside zoo has been removed and these animals saved.”
Spazz, who PETA has been calling Stardust, will be renamed at his new home and have the opportunity to live with another squirrel monkey, named Ziggy. Three iguanas will live outdoors in a naturalistic habitat with other iguanas, rather than crammed inside a small, stuffy enclosure. Asiatic black bears Sallie and Suzie—the 77th and 78th bears PETA has rescued—will live in a lush, expansive habitat instead of in a cage. And a pot-bellied pig named Snorkel will finally receive expert veterinary care after languishing for years with a massive tumor and morbid obesity.
PETA and its fellow plaintiff, Constance Collins, alleged that Tri-State’s mistreatment of animals constituted a public nuisance, noting that Tri-State confined animals to often-filthy, decrepit enclosures and chronically deprived them of appropriate treatment, including veterinary care. PETA’s previous victory against Tri-State—a successful Endangered Species Act lawsuit—followed an eyewitness investigation by the group. The court had described Tri-State as “fetid” and “dystopic.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.