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Special Memories Zoo found in violation of Endangered Species Act

Special Memories Zoo Update: Today a judge ruled on the relief sought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the case against the Wisconsin roadside zoo accused of keeping their animals in neglectful conditions.

The judge denied the ALDF’s request for declaratory relief and denied an injunction prohibiting zoo owner Dona Wheeler and zookeeper Gretchen Crowe from selling or transferring the cages for use in the animal exhibition industry.

“If [the cages] can be sold or otherwise disposed of, Defendants should be free to do so,” the judge said, adding that if the cages are used in a way that violates the law or harms animals, “ALDF can seek legal recourse” from those entities.

The remaining injunctive relief the ALDF requested was granted by the judge. According to court documents, the injunction prohibits Dona Wheeler and Gretchen Crowe from:

1) maintaining a public nuisance by confining endangered, threatened, and not ESA-listed animals in inhumane and unsafe conditions

2) possessing or exhibiting animals (other than the dogs that are their personal pets) and participating in any business or entity that possesses or exhibits animals.

Statutory costs and fees were awarded to the ALDF and the judge will rule on whether the ALDF will be awarded attorney fees and costs at a later date.

According to the documents, “the Court hereby finds that the defendants did violate the ESA and that the operation of the zoo constituted a nuisance.”

Full motion:

Download PDF • 44KB


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