Applaud Removal of Exotic Animals from Mall Zoo


Target: T. M. Franklin Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa

Goal: Praise the transfer of 31 animals from poor conditions in a mall zoo to sanctuary and rescue facilities

Wild animals from a cramped mall zoo in Des Moines will be relocated to more suitable habitats, according to a court order removing the animals from the facility’s custody. The 31 animals, including bears, foxes, and coyotes will be taken in by sanctuaries, rescue groups, and zoos where they can enjoy an improved quality of life for their remaining years.

A bobcat, a lynx, a coyote, a cougar, and various foxes and wolves will be transported to Colorado’s Wild Animals Sanctuary. World of Reptiles will take in an alligator and some snakes, while the city will care for a barn owl, a hawk, and a skunk. Protection group Animal Rescue League will provide a temporary home for a porcupine, an armadillo, an opossum and a raccoon until permanent accommodations are found.

A court ordered the mall zoo closed after several public complaints about the lack of space given to the animals. Some had visible muscle loss due to being unable to play, exercise, or engage in normal animal behaviors in their enclosures, which were a small fraction of the area they generally need in the wild.

When the animals were placed in the city’s care, officials had the option to euthanize them. Rather than taking the easy route, the city worked to ensure that all the animals were relocated to facilities with the proper space and resources necessary to care for them.

The animals’ physical and mental health will benefit greatly from the improved conditions in their new homes. In many cases, the animals will also avoid the stress that comes with being on constant display at a mall. Sign the petition below to applaud Des Moines officials for ensuring that the mall zoo animals receive compassionate and considerate care.


Dear Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie,

Over 30 wild animals have been moved to sanctuaries, zoos, and rescue operations across America following the closure of the Academy of Wildlife Education, a miniature zoo in a Des Moines Mall. The rescued animals included wolves, foxes, an alligator, an owl, and various wild cats.

The animals, which the city chose to move rather than euthanize, will enjoy improved health and happiness with more space to roam and play. We, the undersigned, commend your efforts to find good homes for the animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Keven Law via Creative Commons

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  1. There are so many animals, exotic or domestic, that are severely neglected, abused, tortured. Even if some are luckily rescued, adopted or sent to sanctuaries, what happens to the majority. Either nothing will be done to save them, or there will be no way they can be saved, because all of the sanctuaries will be full! In addition, none of them can continue operations without funds and volunteers. There is SO MUCH need, because there are so many twisted psychopaths!

  2. THANK YOU……… the city that worked so hard to improve the remaining years for these poor animals and found sanctuaries that would take them and give them a good home.

    Good luck and best wishes to all the animals in their new homes and Thank you all again for helping save them.

  3. Karen Remnant says:

    Thank you for finding proper homes foe these animals! At least their quality of life has improved! No animal should have to endure these so-called zoos!

  4. Linda Peterson says:

    Thank you Mayor Cownie, I hope all others will step up and follow your example and put an end to animals in zoo’s , circus’s etc. This is a horrific life, if you can call it a life for them. Thank you again Mayor.

  5. Reyna Cruzado says:

    Thank you! Thank you! thak you! ❤

  6. Cindy McMullen says:

    Being born & raised in Des Moines, Iowa, & now living in a different state, I’m very glad to hear this cruel place closed down. My Mom told me about this small “zoo” that was in the mall in which my husband & I spent many years frequenting growing up, I hoped it would be closed down soon. Great job for finding the animals adequate homes, Des Moines, & I pray you never open another cruel place like that again!

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