California officials say backyard zoo must go

Aug 29, 2006 9:43 am US/Pacific

(CBS) LOS ANGELES – County officials say a Siberian Lynx, a squirrel monkey and dozens of other wild animals that have been living in a backyard in Altadena for the last eight years must go.

Paul Hahn and David Riherd run Animal Guys Inc., an education and entertainment company, from the backyard of Riherd’s parents’ home with Los Angeles city permits, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

The men, who met at Cal State Northridge, were unaware they needed county permits to operate the private zoo, according to the newspaper.

According to county zoning laws, the zoo can’t operate in a residential area.

Now the men are looking for a new home for their animals, or to disband the herd.

Pairs from the zoo’s 12-member staff of biologists, ecologists and animal trainers daily take some of the animals to parties, classrooms, television studios and libraries for demonstrations and talks about ecology, the newspaper reported.

The company also does nonprofit work, bringing the animals to public schools to teach children about ecology.

The men told the newspaper they have between three and six months to find a new home for the herd, but they are worried about the cost and that they won’t have enough time.

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