Jackson Zoo closes doors, future unresolved

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More drama with the Jackson Zoological Society, one day before the zoo closes temporarily – a hearing was held to discuss its future.

“All we want is the animals taken care of,” said attorney Skip Jernigan.

This morning, lawyers represent the City of Jackson and the Zoological Society met up in Hinds County Chancery Court.

“Court coming to order, all rise.”

The parties worked to decide the zoo’s fate but the situation remained a stalemate.

The biggest issue causing the impasse is a $6-million unpaid water bill owed to the city. Zoo members are also accused of trying to move animals to an alternate location. A temporary restraining order is in place to prevent anyone from moving the animals.

“We tried to work out a deal today and nobody really wanted to talk. A deal just making sure that the animals are taken care of properly even though they’re gonna shut the zoo down, said Jernigan. That’s what the society is about. That’s what these board members are concerned with. Other than that they don’t really have any individual responsibility for any of this.”

Starting at midnight Tuesday, the zoo will turn the keys over to the city.

Alexander Chess, chairman of the Jackson Zoological Society explained what the transfer will entail, considering the city is entitled to care for the animals but does not have to display them to the public.

“Until the license comes in, the zoo must be closed. The city cannot exhibit animals until then.”

12 News Kate Cornell tracked down city attorney Tim Howard who says he is satisfied with the outcome.

“We are pleased that the animals will not be moved and that no person will probably moved, so we’re pleased with that.”

Another hearing will be held October 11.

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