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Animals seized from Omaha petting zoo, parents to protest

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 11:19 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nine animals the Nebraska Humane Society describes as wild, according to court documents, were seized from Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha.

According to the court document, a warrant was served at the petting zoo on August 24th quoting the Omaha City Ordinance 8-81 Harboring a Non-domestic Animal.

The search warrant says any Coatimundi, any Porcupine, any Patagonia Mara, any non-domestic animal, as defined by the Omaha City Ordinance was to be seized.

Board members with Scatter Joy Acres say all the paperwork and permits for the animals were in place and they want their animals back.

The petting zoo is open to the public but also specializes in services for special needs children, veterans, the elderly, at-risk youth, and for educational purposes, according to their website.

Parents of special needs children are reported to be planning a protest for the petting zoo.

Three-year-old Conner Henning has cerebral palsy. When he visits the petting zoo he likes to stick with Auilla, the porcupine. Aquilla was seized.

Scatter Joy Acres has filed a formal complaint with the City of Omaha as well as sent a letter to the Humane Society.

The complaint quotes, “We are quite concerned about the welfare of the animals that the Humane Society unlawfully seized,” stated Tim Heller, a member of Scatter Joy Acres Board of Directors. “They are supposed to inform us where they are and have not done so. Those animals are used in therapy sessions. NHS is denying therapy people their therapy. We demand they be returned immediately!”

In a letter to the Nebraska Humane Society, Scatter Joy Acres warns of potential legal action.

The letter to the Humane Society reads in part, “We demand immediate return of these animals. We will seek to hold the humane society responsible for any injury to these animals-including the injuries some sustained when they were seized.

The Humane Society says that even though the animals may provide some therapy, domestic animals are better.

Steve Glandt, the Vice President of Operations at the Nebraska Humane Society said, “While they might have provided some type of therapeutic benefit at the end of the day they’re still a wild animal and not permitted to be in the city limits.”

Scatter Joy says there are exceptions.

"Most of these animals are not wild from a standpoint these are all animals that are used to being around people,” said Scatter Joy board member Tim Heller.

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