Breaking: Roadside Zoo Ordered to Pay PETA $1.2M

For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Md. – The legal bill is mounting for Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland Inc.; Animal Park, Care & Rescue Inc.; and Robert Candy: The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has just ordered them to pay $1,284,049.11 in attorneys’ fees, expert fees, and costs to PETA, which incurred the expenses during its successful Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Tri-State, a decrepit roadside zoo.

PETA’s victory resulted in the transfer of three big cats to an accredited sanctuary and a ruling prohibiting Tri-State from owning or possessing endangered or threatened species. The court’s order cites the complexity of the suit—which involved three species of protected animals, required substantial investigation and expertise, and spanned nearly three years—as cause for the award, noting that the “case was presented efficiently, cleanly, and professionally.” The order also notes that PETA’s “thorough preparation,” in contrast to Tri-State’s, “likely secured its across-the-board success.”

“The court’s ruling recognizes years of PETA’s work to establish that Tri-State Zoo’s neglect was so egregious that it violated the federal Endangered Species Act,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA will be just as tenacious in pursuing the release of every other animal still held at Tri-State.”

PETA’s still-pending second lawsuit against Tri-State alleges that its failure to provide animals—including those not protected by the ESA—with adequate veterinary care, proper food, clean water, and other basic necessities violates state law and constitutes a public nuisance. PETA’s goal is to get every animal out of Tri-State and into suitable facilities where they can finally receive expert care.

The new order follows a sanction for trying to intimidate PETA’s witnesses before trial, which was upheld in appeals court, and an order to pay fees incurred in connection with Tri-State’s appeal.

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