Protesters Want to Shut Down Mill Mountain Zoo

Roanoke (WSLS) - A local animal rights group called "Roanoke Animal Advocates" is protesting Mill Mountain Zoo and ultimately want it to shut down because they say animals are being exploited.

"I love animals I believe they should not be in the zoo they should be moved to a sanctuary because this is not a place where they can live," Cais Thomas a protester said.  

The group was founded in early January and feels the animals should live out their lives in a sanctuary and not in a cage.

"Most of them are in cages and that's their life and they're not for out entertainment they're not for our education they are there to live their own life on their own terms," Lori Rehfeldt, a protester said. 

Zoo officials and supporters say they are doing all they can to make sure the animals are safe and people who work with the animals must a have a degree relating to animal science.

Executive Director of Mill Mountain Zoo, Ray-Eric Correia says all the animals are in enclosures and he says sanctuaries use them as well.

"In fact even the best sanctuaries specifically use the terminology of enclosing their animals because that's what you have to do" Correia said.

Zoo supporters say the zoo has helped by taking in older or ill animals from other zoos that can no longer provide the best care.

"Instead of this group being the against the zoo if they would do a little bit research and found out what good the zoo did they should be supporting the zoo they don't have any animals from the wild," Barbara Hall, a Mill Mountain Zoo Supporter said.

Mill Mountain Zoo is accredited by the "Association of Zoos and Aquariums."

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