Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues Farmers Inn

| January 16, 2019

SIGEL, Pa. (EYT) – The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against Farmers Inn in Sigel claiming the popular local attraction is maintaining animals in squalid conditions in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and state animal cruelty laws.

Farmers Inn is a popular local family attraction that offers a restaurant, store, golf driving range, furniture store, and other attractions.

It also offers what the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) describes as a “roadside zoo,” and the advocacy group doesn’t like how it is operated.  

Parents and grandparents take their children to see the animals when it is open, and the animals are part of a tradition for families and visitors.

“Farmers Inn holds multiple endangered animals, and other animals, in grossly deficient conditions,” states the news release. “These include Queen Louise, a ring-tailed lemur, who despite belonging to a highly social species is kept alone in a small, filthy cage. Other ESA-protected animals were also found to be confined in cramped cages. These include Russell, a black leopard; Jack and Jill, two black bears; a gray wolf, and a hyacinth macaw.”

According to ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells, “These animals, including endangered species, are being held in conditions that are not just abhorrent but illegal. State and federal animal protection laws exist so that animals won’t be forced to live in these conditions. The animals held at Farmers Inn deserve to be in naturalistic sanctuary environments that allow them to engage in activities natural to their species and necessary for their health. The Animal Legal Defense Fund will seek to enforce these laws to provide that for them.”

Visitors reported seeing animals at Farmers Inn who are sick and injured, according to ALDF.

For example, the bears — Jack and Jill — were allegedly seen in what appeared to be in heat distress on a day where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees. A kinkajou — a small rainforest mammal — was allegedly seen with an injured eye. An emaciated goat, significantly stressed guinea pigs, and foxes suffering from apparently untreated mange were also allegedly observed.

The Farmers Inn is currently closed for its normal seasonal break, and requests for comments from the owner about the allegations were not immediately returned.

In August 2018, the ALDF served Farmers Inn, a Pennsylvania roadside zoo, with a notice of intent to sue. The notice contends that Farmers Inn maintains endangered animals, including a ring-tailed lemur, black leopard, and gray wolves, as well as other wild animals in illegal conditions. The letter identified violations of the Endangered Species Act and state wildlife regulations.

The letter to Farmers Inn offered to rehome all the animals to appropriate sanctuaries; however, the ALDF executive director said the organization will proceed with the lawsuit if the alleged illegal conditions persisted.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is being provided with pro bono representation by K&L Gates LLP in this case.

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Category: Local News, News, Regional News