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Image of the Virginia AG Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

**Copies of photos entered into evidence are available here. **

(Direct download ZIP file. Approx 50mb.)

HERRING'S ANIMAL LAW UNIT SECURES CUSTODY OF 119 ANIMALS SEIZED FROM FREDERICK CO. "ROADSIDE ZOO"

~ Lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo, and more now in the care of rescue agencies after judge found that their owner “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care.” ~

FREDERICK COUNTY (August 30, 2019) – Late last night Attorney General Mark Herring’s Animal Law Unit secured custody of 119 exotic and agricultural animals after a judge issued an order finding that Keith Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, a “roadside zoo” in Frederick County “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care.”

 

The animals were seized during execution of a search warrant on August 15 and 16 at Wilson’s Wild Animal Park. The seized animals include lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo, and more. The animals are currently in the care of animal control agencies and exotic and agricultural animal rescue partner organizations.

 

During a 12 hour seizure hearing held yesterday in Frederick County General District Court, animal welfare experts testified as to the inadequate conditions and cruelty at Wilson’s Wild Animal Park and photo and video evidence was entered showing inadequate conditions of animals and facilities.

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Charles B. Foley issued an order “ruling that Keith Wilson cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care.”

 

The order also:

1)   Grants custody of the animals to the Commonwealth;

2)  Requires the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, Keith Wilson, to post a $300,000 bond if he chooses to appeal the decision; and,

3)  Allows for inspection of the facility every 90 days for one year to ensure the welfare of the animals that remain on the premises.

 

The investigation into Wilson’s Wild Animal Park remains ongoing. The case is being handled by Senior Assistant Attorney General K. Michelle Welch, the head of Attorney General Herring’s Animal Law Unit, who was appointed special prosecutor for the case, and Assistant Attorney General Kelci Block. 

 

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