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Roadside Zoo Owner Facing Trial for 46 Counts of Animal Cruelty

Paws Up! To the Frederick County, VA, Circuit Court for denying the zoo owner’s attempts to dismiss his animal cruelty charges so he must face trial.

March 17, 2022

In the fall of 2019, law enforcement agencies seized over one hundred animals from Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Winchester, Virginia, following several complaints of animal cruelty from previous customers and undercover investigations by animal welfare groups and law enforcement. Some of the complaints ranged from animals having small enclosures to having insufficient food, water, and shade for the animals at the park.

The park owner, Keith Wilson, has been charged with 45 counts of animal cruelty, while his nephew, Christian Christian Alejandro Dall’Acqua, has also been charged with 46 counts. In an effort to dismiss the charges, Wilson’s attorney argued that the officer who obtained the initial warrant left out pertinent information to sway the magistrate to issue a search warrant. However, Judge Alexander Iden denied their attempt. The park owners will stand trial on March 29, 2022.

The USDA reported poor conditions at the park as early as 2017, but it was not until undercover investigations revealing squalid conditions two years later that the roadside zoo was shut down.

Take Action: Roadside zoos often cut corners to try to lower the great expenses involved in caring for and feeding wild animals in captivity. It is always the animals who suffer with negligent veterinary care, poor diet, and improper socialization. Never visit these places. Instead, choose to appreciate wild animals in their natural habitats by viewing them in documentaries on TV or online. Wild animals belong in the wild, never as pets or in captivity!

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