Judge: Wilson’s Wild Animal Park animals were cruelly treated, neglected


Video above features previous WDVM coverage on Wilson’s Wild Animal Park. To view the previous story, click here.

FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — A judge ruled Keith Wilson, of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care,” the Office of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring said Friday.

This comes almost two weeks after the park was shut down and 127 animals were seized during an execution of a search warrant. Thursday night, Herring’s Animal Law Unit secured custody of 119 animals, according to the Office of AG Herring.

Animal experts testified at the 12-hour seizure hearing Thursday in Frederick County General District Court, and photo and video evidence was entered showing inadequate conditions of animals and facilities, the Office of AG Herring said.

Judge Charles B. Foley’s 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.

According to the Office of AG Herring, the seized animals are currently in the care of animal control agencies and exotic and agricultural animal rescue partner organizations. They include lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo, and more.

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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