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Closed WI roadside zoo argues lawsuit wasn't a victory

Left to right: Dona Wheeler, Tanya Tucker, Gene Wheeler

Lawyers for Wisconsin’s now-closed Special Memories Zoo are arguing that zoo owner Dona Wheeler and zookeeper Gretchen Crowe should not have to pay legal fees to the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the case challenging the care of the animals at the roadside zoo.

“The great victory they obtained is only because an elderly woman with breast cancer and a former employee of Special Memories Zoo who now lives with her parents were unable to afford to fight the fraudulent allegations,” documents say.

The ALDF is seeking $72,172.56 in legal fees and costs for their lawsuit against Special Memories Zoo.

The lawsuit was settled in January 2021 with a default judgement banning Wheeler and Crowe from possessing or exhibiting animals - other than personal pets - or working with any business that does so.

Full court documents:

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