PETA Victory: Tri-State Zoological Park Loses Appeal

With Federally Protected Species Now Safe From ‘Dystopic’ Roadside Zoo, Group Turns Its Attention to Remaining Animals Held There

For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, M.d. – This morning, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld PETA’s victory in its federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Tri-State Zoological Park; its owner and operator, Robert Candy; and an associated entity, Animal Park, Care & Rescue, Inc.—ruling that PETA had standing to bring the suit, in part because the roadside zoo “created the misimpression that the conditions in which the animals were kept were lawful and consistent with animal welfare” and because PETA’s mission demanded that it take action to correct that misimpression.

Tri-State had filed the appeal after the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in PETA’s favor in the lawsuit in 2019, resulting in the transfer of three big cats to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado and a ruling prohibiting the roadside zoo from ever again owning or possessing endangered or threatened species. The judge found that five animals protected by the ESA who had died there between the time PETA gave notice of the suit and the trial—one of whom was so ravaged by sepsis that pus-filled pockets had formed in her heart, tongue, and diaphragm—endured “early and tragic” deaths and described conditions at Tri-State as “fetid and dystopic.”

“This abject failure of a facility has just been knocked down yet again in its shameless mission to exploit vulnerable animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “With this victory secured, PETA will now go full steam ahead with its efforts to get the rest of the animals out of there.”

Just last week, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied Tri-State’s motion to dismiss a new civil complaint filed against it by PETA and a concerned citizen alleging that the roadside zoo’s neglect and abuse of more than 100 animals—who are not protected under the ESA—creates a public nuisance. This suit asks the court to order that these remaining animals be transferred to reputable facilities.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit 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