Zoo owner charged with 46 animal cruelty counts in Virginia

November 14, 2019 GMT

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) — The owner of a Virginia zoo where more than 100 animals were seized earlier this year has been charged with animal cruelty.

A grand jury in Winchester indicted Keith Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, on 46 animal cruelty counts. Wilson’s nephew, Christian Dall’Acqua, is also facing charges.

The Animal Law Unit of Virginia’s Attorney General’s Office seized nearly 120 animals in August amid concerns of inadequate care. Federal inspectors have cited the zoo multiple times for violations.

A judge refused to return the animals to the zoo after a 12-hour hearing held this year in which authorities presented evidence that animals received insufficient food, water and living space.

A lawyer who represented the zoo at that hearing did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.