Protesters outside SeaQuest Woodbridge point to animal neglect reports
More than 50 people lined the street outside the Woodbridge Center Mall Saturday afternoon to protest the SeaQuest petting zoo aquarium amid allegations of animal cruelty.
Protesters said there was a lack of supervision inside SeaQuest, along with overcrowding and dirty drinking water for the animals.
They also pointed to reports of animal neglect and injuries to the public from direct contact with animals at several SeaQuest locations nationwide.
"This can't continue. They need to stop and be shut down and let the animals go to sanctuaries," says Laura Fox, of Middletown.
Denise Morgan organized the protest. She says she has been protesting every weekend since the end of July before SeaQuest opened at the mall.
"They're profiting off of the animals and they're not treating the animals the way they're supposed to be treated," she told News 12.
SeaQuest Woodbridge's general manager Brayden Albertoni says he invites anyone to come in and take a look – saying they are fully compliant.
"Animal safety and health is our No. 1 priority and if there's a problem, we'll fix it, but we know that we're doing everything we possibly can to make sure our animals are happy and healthy," says Albertoni.
A statement provided to News 12 by SeaQuest's CEO says in part, "We continue to have regular local, state, federal, and licensed vet inspections, including inspections just this week with animal control, the police department, and others, right here at SeaQuest Woodbridge. We have complied with all regulations and passed every inspection by all governing agencies."
SeaQuest addresses concerns about its facilities on their website.