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Group seeks more regulation of Md. roadside zoos

Wednesday - 12/4/2013, 6:10pm  ET

Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- The Humane Society of the United States says it will seek tighter state regulation of Maryland roadside zoos to close what it calls a federal enforcement loophole.

The Washington-based group issued a report Wednesday citing scores of alleged Animal Welfare Act violations at roadside zoos in Thurmont, Cumberland and Rising Sun since 2006.

The society says the numbers reflect flaws in U.S. Agriculture Department zoo standards and enforcement capability.

The group says it wants all Maryland zoos that exhibit big cats, bears and primates to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Baltimore and Salisbury zoos have obtained that accreditation, which involves inspection of their books as well as their animal enclosures.

Roadside zoos say the AZA accreditation process is costly and burdensome to small operators.

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