Iowa judge wants answer: Where did some of the zoo animals go?

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MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered the owners of a closed-down roadside zoo in eastern Iowa to explain what happened to some animals that were supposed to be removed.

In late November Judge Monica Wittig found the Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester to be a nuisance and that the exotic animals at the site must be placed at accredited sanctuaries or zoos.

Four plaintiffs sued to have the animals removed and the zoo owned by Pam and Tom Sellner closed. It had been operated since 2002 despite repeated complaints that animals were mistreated.
In April last year, a federal appeals court upheld a district court ruling that the zoo violated the Endangered Species Act with its treatment of some animals.

An attorney who represented Iowa residents in the lawsuit filed an affidavit requesting a contempt charge. It alleged that several animals specifically mentioned in Wittig’s removal order, including five brown bears, two mountain lions, a fox, a wolf hybrid and a camel could not be found.

The Sellners’ attorney didn’t immediately return a message Monday from The Associated Press.

The judge set the hearing for Feb. 7 in Manchester.