Lawsuit filed against Manchester zoo for "horrible living condit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lawsuit filed against Manchester zoo for "horrible living conditions"

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DELAWARE COUNTY (KWWL) - The owners of a roadside zoo in Manchester have been slapped with a lawsuit with allegations of harassment and filthy living conditions.

Cricket Hollow Zoo has been a part of Pam Sellner's family for 14 years.

She admits they've had more violations from the USDA than she can count, but she feels she's being unfairly targeted and dragged through the mud because animal rights advocates are expecting too much from her.

"I'm not perfect. I never will be, and if I had 100 helpers here to help me, I probably still wouldn't do everything perfect. It's just the way it is. I do my best," she said.

Sellner estimates approximately 5,000 people make their way through the zoo every year.

But if an animal rescue organization gets its way, the roadside zoo won't have such a spectacle.

On Wednesday, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against Delaware County's Cricket Hollow Zoo owners Pam and Tom Sellner for failing to provide adequate care for animals at their facility.

The lawsuit lists three violations against the "Endangered Species Act."

First, ALDF claims the Sellners unlawfully took endangered species and have harassed them by keeping them in horrible living conditions.

Second, the lawsuit also claims the Sellners never got a permit or permission from the government to obtain the species, and finally, the lawsuit claims the Sellners illegally acquired some of the 300-plus animals at the zoo.

Sellner said the goal of ALDF and its lawsuit is to close the zoo.

"When they get rid of me, they'll start on the next guy. When all the animals are eradicated, and you can't touch a tiger cub anymore, and when you can't have a pet or a be a part of an animal's life, they'll be happy and that's very sad," she said.

Sellner couldn't provide KWWL with the number of violations she's obtained from the USDA, only stating they've received "too many to count."

But she said the violations were for minor things like fencing problems or cleanliness of shelters.

A staff attorney with ALDF said the group hopes a judge will force the Sellners to move the endangered animals to a wildlife sanctuary.

Sellner said that won't happen without a fight.
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