Dozens of Animals Rescued From Roadside Maryland Zoo

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by chuchart duangdaw via Getty Images)

All around the world, zoos and aquariums provide both a safe haven for animals and a great deal of entertainment and education to those who visit them. They’re vital to the conservation of endangered species, some of which are entirely extinct in the wild. And the vast majority of people who work with the animals at these establishments have dedicated their lives to the safety and welfare of all in their care.

Sadly, however, with more than 10,000 zoos worldwide, the occasional bad egg is inevitable – and one Maryland zoo fell into this category.

The roadside zoo, called Tri-State Zoological Park, opened its doors in 2003. Since then, it has received numerous animal welfare and endangered species act violations. Rather than care for its residents, the zoo subjected its animals to “chronic neglect.”

Under the Maryland zoo’s dubious care, multiple animals, including a lion and tiger, died from the “filthy, decrepit enclosures” in which they lived.

Tragically, they were deprived of “appropriate treatment, including veterinary care,” according to one of the many lawsuits filed against the park by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Bear Sanctuary Welcomes Twelve Neglected Animals From Maryland Zoo

In total, rescuers saved 71 animals from the corrupt Maryland zoo, moving them to safety, accredited zoos across the country. Twelve of these animals were taken by Lions Tigers & Bears, San Diego’s only accredited big cat and bear sanctuary.

According to the sanctuary’s founder and director, Bobbi Brink, the Maryland zoo was a truly horrifying sight to behold. “It was worse than we could have imagined,” she told WUSA9. “When we arrived, we saw that the two Himalayan black bears were so overweight, it hindered their mobility and comfort.”

“Their enclosure was shockingly filthy, and the water in their pool area had turned to black sludge,” Brink continued. “In contrast, it’s been a joy to watch them splashing around in clean water as they acclimate to their new home at our sanctuary.”

Those who found their forever home at Lions Tigers & Bears include two Himalayan black bears, Susie and Sallie. Additionally, two miniature horses, Cappuccino and Dream, and one llama named Cody are recovering from their ordeal at the sanctuary.

The others, including two emus, two coatis, two geese, and one pot-bellied pig, found safe new homes at an accredited sanctuary in Texas thanks to Lions Tigers & Bears’ rescue team.

“The Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue Team was happy to make the cross-country trip,” said Bobbi Brink. “We are one of very few teams in the country equipped with a self-contained, state-of-the-art exotic animal transport hauler. This allows us to safely transport animals to safe forever homes at accredited sanctuaries throughout the nation.”

After a harrowing two decades, all the animals who once called the Maryland zoo home are free. They’ve now found happy homes with 14 reputable zoos across the country.