Federal judge rules against Tri-State Zoological Park

CUMBERLAND — A federal judge has ruled against the Tri-State Zoological Park in Cumberland for failure to provide a now-deceased tiger with adequate veterinary care, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The ruling stems from an ESA lawsuit filed in 2017 alleging that Tri-State harmed and harassed two lemurs, five tigers and a lion in violation of federal law, according to news release emailed Tuesday by PETA to the Times-News.

Bob Candy, operator of the zoo located at 10105 Cottage Lane, said Tuesday afternoon the matter is under review by his attorneys in consideration of possibly appealing the ruling.

“There is more to it than what they say,” Candy said.

Candy also said he has filed a civil action against PETA that is pending in Allegany County Circuit Court. It alleges defamation and other damages.

PETA Foundation director Brittany Peet said, “This ruling sends Tri-State and every other roadside zoo a clear message that failing to provide a protected species with adequate veterinary care violated federal law.”

Peet also said PETA is proceeding to have endangered and threatened animals at Tri-State moved to reputable facilities “where they can enjoy life and engage in natural forms of behavior at long last.”

PETA also said it would seek an injunction terminating all of Tri-State’s ownership and possessor rights relating to three tigers and one lion currently held at the facility, prohibiting the facility from owning and possessing federally protected animals and securing the transfer of every surviving federally protected animal still held there to reputable facilities.

PETA said a federal trial for the case is scheduled for November.

The request for injunction is part of the bench trial process, she said.

Candy said Tri-State receives up to 5,000 visitors annually and is actively involved in community events, school programs and hosting visiting groups.

“They’re trying to take our animals away and move them into a sanctuary in Minnesota. This has been going on for two years,” Candy said.

Candy also noted that his facility has successfully passed inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, its licensing and oversight agency. He also said no violation has been found by the Endangered Species Authority.

Candy said Tri-State is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed in the colder months, beginning Nov. 1. He said the zoo currently features tigers, a female lion, farm animals, reptiles, monkeys and birds.

“We have a good variety out here,” he said.

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