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Cumberland-area zoo fights license suspension

HAGERSTOWN — A zoo near Cumberland is fighting a 45-day suspension ordered by the U.S. Agriculture Department for repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act from 2006 to 2010.

Tri-State Zoological Park owner Robert Candy said Wednesday he did nothing wrong. He says zoo regulations are vague and open to interpretation.

The agency announced the action Monday.

An administrative law judge found 15 violations and dismissed 18 other allegations. The most serious offense was the zoo’s practice of taking groups on “behind the scenes” tours within touching distance of caged tigers.

Most of the other violations involved structural defects in animal enclosures and shortcomings in sanitation and record-keeping.

Candy says he no longer offers the close-up tours. He says he has corrected other problems cited by inspectors.