Appeals Court in Big-Cat Case Orders Local Roadside Zoo to Pay Sanctions Over ‘Baseless’ Attempt at Witness Intimidation

For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Md. – Late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a sanctions order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland, Inc. Animal Park, Care & Rescue, Inc.; their owner, Robert Candy; and their counsel, Nevin Young, to pay $56,655.77 in fees and costs to PETA.

PETA was awarded these funds after the U.S. District Court found that defendant Candy, with assistance from Young, had “drummed up charges” against two of PETA’s witnesses “on the eve of trial in a bad faith attempt to intimidate PETA’s witnesses and disrupt litigation,” just days before the group’s Endangered Species Act lawsuit against Tri-State went to trial. PETA won that lawsuit, resulting in the transfer of three big cats to an accredited sanctuary in Colorado and a ruling prohibiting the roadside zoo from owning or possessing endangered or threatened species.

“In so many sleazy roadside zoos, we find appalling disregard not only for animal welfare laws but also for other aspects of the law,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “An animal exploiter lurks in every shoddy one of them, which is why PETA urges the public to avoid these places as though animals’ lives depend on it—because they do.”

PETA is currently going full steam ahead with a second lawsuit against Tri-State alleging that the roadside zoo frequently denies the dozens of animals currently in its custody timely veterinary treatment, daily care from qualified staff, sufficient enrichment, proper food and clean water, and even adequate shelter.

The suit contends that such neglect and mistreatment of animals violates state law and constitutes a public nuisance and asks the court to order that the remaining animals be transferred to reputable facilities immediately. Last year, the U.S. District Court denied Tri-State’s motion to dismiss the civil complaint filed against it by PETA and a concerned citizen, holding that the complaint “sufficiently states a public nuisance claim.”

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.

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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