Photos: A Happy Holiday for 72 Animals Rescued From Decrepit Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Md.

Geese who were surrounded by filth; a squirrel monkey who had cruelly been named “Spazz” because of his frantic, likely stress-induced behavior; and bears who spent their days in a decrepit, cramped cage are among the 72 animals of 30 different species who will be spending their first Christmas in spacious new homes after being rescued this past fall from the now-defunct Tri-State Zoological ParkPETA’s largest-ever rescue of animals from a roadside zoo. “Before” and “after” photos of many of the animals are available here.

The six-day rescue operation was the result of a settlement in a PETA lawsuit against Tri-State in which PETA and its co-plaintiff, Constance Collins, alleged that the roadside zoo’s mistreatment of animals—including confining them to often-filthy, decrepit enclosures and depriving them of adequate veterinary care—constituted a public nuisance. The settlement forced the notorious outfit to close after years of federal violations and allowed PETA to rescue the survivors of chronic neglect. PETA worked with 14 reputable sanctuaries and accredited zoos across the country that took in and are caring for the animals, many of whom need specialized care.

“Tri-State spent years exploiting vulnerable animals and allowing those suffering from poor health to languish, but this Christmas, the survivors will finally have some comfort and joy while receiving the care they lacked for so long,” 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 top-notch care, one more shoddy roadside zoo has been closed down and dozens of its victims rescued.”

Here are some highlights from the rescue:

  • After being kept for nearly two decades in solitary confinement surrounded by natural predators in a reptile house, “Spazz”—now renamed Hoggle—will have the opportunity to live with another squirrel monkey, named Ziggy.
  • Asiatic black bears Sallie and Suzie—the 77th and 78th bears, respectively, PETA has rescued, both of whom are morbidly obese after years in a cramped cage—will be fed a proper diet and live in a lush, expansive habitat with space to roam.
  • A pot-bellied pig named Snorkel is finally receiving expert veterinary care for morbid obesity and a massive tumor he suffered from for years.
  • A goat named Princess is being treated for an upper respiratory infection and internal and external parasites. When she’s given a clean bill of health, she’ll join the other goats at her new sanctuary home.
  • Red-eared slider turtles who were confined to a filthy tank with cinder blocks now have a pond to swim in at a beautiful sanctuary. (See video here.)
  • A neglected blue-tongued skink who was so dehydrated that his eyes were sunken and nearly sealed shut received emergency intravenous fluids prior to his transfer and is now receiving vital veterinary care (see video here).

PETA’s previous victory against Tri-State—a successful Endangered Species Act lawsuit—followed an eyewitness investigation by the group. The court described Tri-State as “fetid” and “dystopic.” PETA previously rescued three big cats and three other animals from the facility, bringing the total number of animals the group rescued from Tri-State to 78.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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