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Owner, nephew face 46 counts of animal cruelty over roadside zoo in Winchester

(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 16, 2019 at 7:11 PM EDT
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UPDATE (Nov. 13):

The owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park and his nephew have been indicted on 46 counts of animal cruelty by a grand jury in Frederick County.

In August, more than 100 animals, including water buffalo, tigers and lions, were seized from the roadside zoo, which had a history of complaints.

Keith A. Wilson, the owner of the zoo, and his nephew, Christian Dall'Acqua, were recently indicted by a grand jury in Frederick County.

During a 12-hour seizure hearing held on August 29 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.

A judge found that Wilson “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care” in August, leading Attorney General Herring’s Animal Law Unit to secure custody of 119 animals.

The animals were placed in the care of animal control agencies and exotic and agricultural animal rescue partner organizations.

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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More than 100 animals, including water buffalo, tigers and lions, have been seized from a roadside zoo in Virginia with a history of complaints.

The Virginia Attorney General's Office said Friday it joined with state and local authorities to carry out the seizures Thursday and Friday to investigate animal cruelty allegations at Wilson's Wild Animal Park in Winchester.

A search warrant shows nearly 120 animals were seized, including parrots, six camels, 36 goats and two Capuchin monkeys.

Michael Kelly, spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring, said animal-control and animal-rescue organizations are caring for the animals pending an Aug. 29 court hearing.

Federal inspectors have cited the zoo multiple times for violations.

The zoo's website says it's closed until further notice. A zoo spokeswoman didn't immediately return messages Friday.