Zoo prepares for big cat removal; protests planned

Cheyenne, a 17-year-old female tiger, reacts as Robert Candy, owner of Tri-State Zoological Park, makes animal sounds during an open house held at the facility in January 2020. The big cat was moved to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, in February 2020, after the zoo lost a court battle with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who alleged the animals were living in squalid conditions.

CUMBERLAND, Md. — The owner of the Tri-State Zoological Park was ordered Thursday to pay nearly $58,000 in legal fees incurred by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals during the zoo’s lost appeal of a federal Endangered Species Act lawsuit earlier this year.

When combined with a previous order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the zoo is on the hook for more than $114,000 in legal fees.

“Because we appealed the first case, this is just saying we’re seeking attorney fees for the first appeal,” said Bob Candy, owner of the zoo. “It’s just added fees that won’t get paid.”

The zoo and PETA are involved in another lawsuit regarding what a PETA spokesperson described as Tri-State’s “failure to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, proper food, clean water and other basic necessities violates state law and constitutes a public nuisance.”

The organization’s end goal in the matter is to have every animal taken from the zoo and transported to other facilities, essentially shutting it down completely, according to a PETA news release.

“At this point, I’m not going to worry about it,” said Candy, who was busy preparing for the zoo’s last big fundraiser for the year, “Bu at the Zoo,” where he decorates a haunted house and has trick-or-treating, which will take place Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The zoo will close for the season Oct. 31.

Brandon Glass is a staff writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @Bglass13.

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Brandon Glass is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @Bglass13