TAMPA (Legal Newsline) — PETA is suing a Dade City zoo, alleging it illegally exploited tiger cubs.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA) filed a lawsuit Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Dade City’s Wild Things Inc., Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab Center Inc., doing business as Dade City’s Wild Things, Kathryn P. Stearns and Randall E. Stearns, alleging violation of the Endangered Species Act.
According to the complaint, PETA discovered several of the defendants' questionable practices, including premature separation of tiger cubs from their mothers, forcing the cubs to interact and/or swim with the public for profit, and use of abusive methods to compel animal participation, thereby causing the tiger cubs to suffer from pain and discomfort, impairing their development, exposing them to illnesses and injuries, depriving them of the care of their mothers and preventing them from carrying out their natural behaviors.
Subsequently, the suit says, the defendants have not remedied the violations set out in the 60-day notice of intent to sue sent by the plaintiff June 22.
PETA alleges the defendants violated provisions of the ESA by causing harassment and harm to animals in order to gain profit.
PETA seeks trial by jury, declaratory judgment of the defendants' violations, enjoining the defendants from further violations, enjoining the defendants from owning any endangered tigers in the future, attorney and expert fees, costs of action and all relief the court deems just. It is represented by attorneys Marcos E. Hasbun and Justin R. Cochran of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in Tampa.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Case number 8:16-cv-02899