Virginia roadside zoo owner pleads no contest to animal cruelty

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RICHMOND, Va. – The owner of a Virginia roadside zoo and his nephew pleaded no contest Friday to multiple counts of animal cruelty and received suspended sentences.

State Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that Keith Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Winchester, entered no contest pleas to 27 misdemeanor counts in Frederick County Circuit Court.

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Wilson’s nephew, Christian Dall’Acqua, pleaded no contest to 19 misdemeanor counts. In 2019, 119 exotic and agricultural animals were seized from the zoo after a judge found that Wilson “cruelly treated, neglected or deprived” the animals.

Under a plea agreement, Wilson and his nephew were each sentenced to 12 months, with 12 months suspended, on each count. They cannot work, own, buy or sell any exotic animals for five years.