After years of close confinement at a roadside zoo, Baby, a Siberian tiger, is free to roam two acres of land comprising a sprawling pasture, wooded area and pond. Her liberation is the result of BakerHostetler’s second successful pro bono litigation on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals.
In March 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, with assistance from BakerHostetler Partner John W. Caldwell and Associate Brian L. Saunders, filed a federal lawsuit against the private zoo in northern Pennsylvania. The suit alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and various state law claims for failing to provide adequate care for Baby and other animals — including Bear, an endangered gray wolf; black bears Shawn and Sandy; three capuchin monkeys; an arctic fox; a bobcat and approximately 30 domestic/farm animals — housed at the facility.
Caldwell and Saunders acted swiftly in the litigation and, with the influence of the district court judge, demonstrated to the zoo owner the seriousness of the allegations. Ultimately, these actions convinced the defendant to relinquish the animals for relocation. One by one, the Animal Legal Defense Fund found new homes for each of the animals.
“We’re proud of our relationship with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and its work advocating for animals,” said Caldwell. “We’re pleased to have helped so many animals find the caring homes they deserve.”
This success follows a similar pro bono effort on behalf of a black bear named Ricki, who was freed in February 2015 after 16 years of captivity in a small chain-link enclosure. BakerHostetler Partner Carl Hittinger and Saunders negotiated Ricki’s relocation to a sprawling wildlife sanctuary in the Rocky Mountains.