SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) — The owners of the Waccatee Zoo in Socastee will no longer be allowed to exhibit wild or exotic animals after PETA said Thursday it has reached a settlement in its 2022 lawsuit against the facility.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed the lawsuit against the Waccatee Zoological Farm and its owners in April 2022 in U.S. District Court in Florence. News13 reported on Sept. 8, 2022, that the zoo was closed for renovations.

Several days later, on Sept. 14, an attorney for the zoo’s owners told News13 that the facility would close permanently “because of the ongoing expense of this litigation and other considerations.”

According to PETA, the settlement also bars the operators of the zoo from breeding domestic animals or exploiting them for profit. They are also not permitted to work or volunteer at other roadside zoos.

“This victory blocks Waccatee’s operators from ever again mistreating wild animals as they did for decades,” said Brittany Peet, PETA’s general counsel for captive animal law enforcement. “PETA is delighted to see the survivors thriving in their new sanctuary home and will continue to ask everyone to help us advocate for all animals still trapped in roadside zoos by never patronizing such operations.”

The 123-page lawsuit accused the zoo of exhibiting more than 460 animals in conditions “in which they’re deprived of appropriate veterinary care and other necessities.” Other allegations include inadequate care for Lila the tiger, which it claims led to the tiger’s death, and other animals living in poor conditions.

About five months after filing the lawsuit, PETA said it filed an emergency motion after learning that animals were being secretly transferred animals out of the facility.

PETA said the settlement comes exactly three months after it rescued nine captive animals from Waccatee that were then transferred to The Wild Animal Refuge in Colorado.

“There, the two rescued bears from Waccatee will soon exit veterinary supervision to enjoy their spacious and naturalistic new home, and the rescued llama and emus now roam freely with other animals and receive a nutritious diet and expert veterinary care,” PETA said.

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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in West Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.