For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Stonecrest, Ga. – Consumers, beware: This morning, PETA sent a letter to city officials alerting them that SeaQuest, the indoor petting zoo chain known for animal deaths and visitor injuries, is selling tickets to a proposed local aquarium that it hasn’t even started building yet—and which would be prohibited under city zoning laws.
SeaQuest is already selling annual admission “passports” and booking events for a location that it claims will be opening later this month inside the old Sears building at The Mall at Stonecrest—but the building is still owned by the city of Stonecrest and hasn’t been sold to the company developing and managing the mall, let alone transferred to SeaQuest as the tenant. According to public records, the petting zoo also hasn’t applied for any of the permits that it would need to operate within the city—and, PETA notes, the city’s zoning ordinance wouldn’t permit SeaQuest to operate in the mall anyway. PETA is asking city officials to investigate these suspicious ticket sales and stop SeaQuest from moving forward in Stonecrest.
“If SeaQuest is allowed to dodge local laws and set up shop in Stonecrest, hundreds of animals are sure to endure desolate lives of neglect inside the shopping mall,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is urging city officials to give SeaQuest the red light now and stop this sleazy petting zoo in its tracks.”
SeaQuest locations have faced a litany of scandals, including animal deaths, a suspended license, dozens of people being injured by animals, and reports of widespread neglect. This isn’t the first time that SeaQuest has sold tickets before obtaining zoning approvals, either: In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it mischaracterized itself as a “museum” in order to obtain a permit to operate in a mall where animal exhibitions were not allowed, prompting PETA to sue the city and SeaQuest—and the company ultimately agreed to abandon the development. However, it’s unclear whether all the people who bought tickets ever got their money back.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Janice Allen Jackson, acting city manager, and Jim Summerbell, planning director, is available here.