ALDF, PETA, and Local Residents Get Green Light to Challenge Licensing of Roadside Zoo with History of Animal Abuse.
It was announced late yesterday that a court has denied the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the agency by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), PETA, and two Fayetteville-area residents. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the USDA’s decisions to renew Jambbas Ranch Tours’ license to continue to operate a roadside zoo that has racked up dozens of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The ruling comes in the wake of the recent high-profile rescue of Ben the bear who was showing psychological and physical deterioration from being kept in solitary confinement in a barren concrete enclosure at Jambbas. Ben is now at a spacious outdoor sanctuary in California.
“In violation of the plain language of the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA has rubberstamped Jambass’ renewal applications, effectively giving this tawdry roadside zoo a license to abuse,” says General Counsel to PETA Jeffrey S. Kerr. “Local residents are now leading the charge to end the suffering of animals at Jambass Ranch.”
“We are grateful for the legal victory that sent Ben the bear to his new sanctuary home,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “It is now time for the court to take action on behalf of the many animals who continue to suffer in what the USDA itself, year after year, has recognized to be substandard conditions at Jambbas Ranch.”
The AWA, which the USDA is charged with enforcing, clearly prohibits licensing a facility that is not in compliance with the act. For years, the USDA has repeatedly cited Jambbas for AWA violations, including unsanitary conditions, hazardous enclosures, failure to offer adequate veterinary care, and failure to supply sufficient quantities of food and potable water. In one instance, Jambbas was cited for failure to give adequate veterinarian care to two emaciated goats. One of them was found dead in a pasture. Yet the agency has continued to renew Jambbas’ license.
A copy of the court’s decision is available upon request.