The Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester has been ordered to remove all exotic animals and wildlife from its property.
The owners of the roadside zoo, Tom and Pam Sellner, were sued by four plaintiffs – Tracey Kuehl, Lisa Kuehl, Pamela Jones and Haley Anderson. After visits to the zoo over the years, the four said Cricket Hollow Zoo violated Iowa’s Animal Neglect Law. They asked the Court to remove the animals from the property and prohibit the Sellners from purchasing wild or exotic animals in the future.
Trial was held for several days in mid-October in Delaware County District Court, with the plaintiffs describing dirty and inadequate conditions for the animals. The Court also made a personal site inspection of the zoo, finding the testimony to be consistent to what they saw.
On Sunday, Judge Wittig agreed that a nuisance does exist on the Sellner’s property in the form of Cricket Hollow Zoo, finding them in violation of the Iowa Animal Neglect Statute.
Judge Wittig has ordered that all animals deemed exotic and other wildlife (with the exception of any exempted as livestock) in the care and custody of the Sellners and/or Cricket Hollow Zoo be removed immediately. Exotic animals subject to the court’s ruling include seven bears, three baboons, two mountain lions, two foxes, two coyotes, a wolf, a camel and a llama. It also includes small mammals kept indoors such as ferrets, rabbits and sugar gliders, as well as reptiles and tropical birds.
Judge Wittig says the arrangements for removing the animals will be made by the four plaintiffs or their agents. The veterinarians presented on behalf of the plaintiffs who have been involved in this case will be allowed to make recommendations on which accredited sanctuaries or zoos the animals will be transferred to.
The judge also says the Sellners are enjoined from ownership of exotic animals or wildlife and are hereby divested of all ownership interest in exotic animals and wildlife currently in their possession and/or listed on the inventory of animals provided to the USDA.