BALTIMORE, Md. (Legal Newsline) – A Maryland zoological facility alleges PETA members pretended to be volunteers to do an "undercover investigation" of the facility.
Robert L. Candy; Animal Park, Care & Rescue Inc.; and Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland Inc. filed a complaint on July 30 in the U.S. District Court District of Maryland against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA), et al., citing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
According to the suit, PETA members entered the plaintiffs' Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland facility in 2014 and 2015 pretending to be volunteers in order to conduct an undercover investigation.
"They lied about where they were from, saying they were from Hagerstown, which was false. They also directly lied when plaintiff Robert Candy asked them if they were with any sort of animal rights organization," the suit states. "Contrary to the false representations of the defendants, the defendants arrived at the zoo with hidden cameras and hidden audio recording devices in order to conduct an 'undercover investigation' on behalf of defendant PETA."
The plaintiffs also allege that the defendants have published and transmitted false and fraudulent statements about them to donors, stealing and/or misappropriating photographs and video imagery from the plaintiff and fraudulently obtained images.
The plaintiffs holds People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA), et al. responsible because the defendants allegedly acted in concert with others to scheme and damage plaintiffs' business interest, to trespass on the property and illegally gather and distribute to the public various photographs, videos and other materials in an attempt to extort them to give up animals under their care.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek monetary damages in the amount of three times the actual damages with underlying actual damages at present estimated to be $80,000, plus attorney fees, and for whatever other relief the circumstances merit. They are represented by Nevin L. Young of Nevin L. Young in Annapolis, Maryland.
U.S. District Court District of Maryland case number 1:18-cv-02335-PX