Tri-State Zoological Park Violated Law, Says Judge

Summary Judgment Supports PETA’s Assertion That Failing to Provide Tiger With Adequate Veterinary Care Violated Endangered Species Act

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Md.

A federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has just issued a first-of-its-kind ruling on PETA’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Tri-State Zoological Park‘s failure to provide a now-deceased tiger named Cayenne with adequate veterinary care “harmed” her, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In light of this development, PETA will be requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture terminate the roadside zoo’s federal Animal Welfare Act exhibitor’s license.

The ruling stems from the ESA lawsuit filed in 2017 by PETA alleging that Tri-State harmed and harassed two lemurs, five tigers, and a lion in violation of federal law by displaying them in decrepit enclosures without appropriate companionship, potable water, or proper enrichment, food, or shelter and by denying them adequate veterinary care and that it continues to harm and harass the protected animals who remain at the facility. Since PETA notified Tri-State of its intent to file suit, four of the nine animals originally at issue in the lawsuit have died, including a lion and a lemur who had reportedly mutilated his penis and was hypothermic when he died. According to Tri-State’s counsel, Cayenne’s brother Kumar died just yesterday, on the same day the court issued its order finding that the facility violated the ESA in Cayenne’s death. PETA doesn’t yet know Kumar’s cause of death.

“This landmark ruling sends Tri-State and every other roadside zoo a clear message that failing to provide a protected species with adequate veterinary care violates federal law,” says PETA Foundation Director Brittany Peet. “PETA is going full steam ahead with its efforts to move the endangered and threatened animals still suffering at Tri-State to reputable facilities where they can enjoy life and engage in natural forms of behavior at long last.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—will now prepare to head to trial on the remaining issues raised in its lawsuit. The group is requesting an injunction terminating all of Tri-State’s ownership and possessory rights relating to the three tigers and one lion currently held at the facility, prohibiting the facility from owning or possessing federally protected animals and from otherwise violating the ESA, and securing the transfer of every surviving federally protected animal still held there to reputable facilities. A trial for this case has been scheduled for November 2019.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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