The Baltimore Sun uncovered the story behind the Plumpton Park Zoo’s closing

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The Baltimore Sun is reporting on their website that the owner of the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun decided to close the zoo he built on his family’s farm 24 years ago after inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified him of 21 potential violations of federal regulations governing animal health and safety.

Owner Ed Plumstead, 82, had not spoken to any media outlet after a cryptic message was posted on the zoo’s website stating: “We wish to thank all of our supporters, but due to conditions beyond our control Plumpton Park has to close.” When a Sun reporter approached him, he said said only that he was “too upset to talk.”

According to the Sun story, an inspector wrote in a June 29 report: “seven animal enclosures needed repair, a structure housing six bison lacked proper access to water, a monkey cage had insufficient ventilation and a tiger was living in a keeper’s residence on the property.”

The USDA report called for the repairs, which cost thousands of dollars, to be made by July 21. The Sun story said that “friends said the duties involved in caring for a menagerie of hundreds of animals had weighed heavily on him in recent years and that Plumstead had been seeking a buyer.”

The story says that Plumstead is working with area zoos to find good homes for the animals. The story also stated that Plumstead could possibly keep some animals as pets as long as state or county regulations don’t prohibit ownership of the animals.

To read the Sun’s story, click here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-zoo-closes-0807-20100807-1,0,5135756.story

My kids enjoyed their preschool field trips to the Plumpton Park zoo. I uploaded a few pictures of the zoo to a Flickr photostream.

If you have Plumpton Park Zoo photos, I’d love to see them. Please feel free to add yours!