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Miami-Dade officially serves eviction notice on Seaquarium

Protestors stand outside of the Miami Seaquarium
Key Biscayne Independent
Protestors stand outside of the Miami Seaquarium

Miami-Dade County, officially served the eviction notice on the company running Miami Seaquarium after the lease agreement came to an end Sunday.

“The County continues to believe the grounds to terminate the lease are still present in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals currently under their care,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Commissioner Raquel Regalado in a joint statement.

The officials, in a statement, said they are hopeful The Dolphin Company, which has operated Seaquarium on Virginia Key since October 2021, will take the necessary steps to vacate the facility to ensure a safe and orderly transition for the animals.

READ MORE: Miami Seaquarium faces eviction over animal welfare

“If they fail to do so, the County will move forward with the eviction process in court,” the statement read.

The Dolphin Company’s subsidiary filed a federal lawsuit Friday, claiming that it had been unfairly targeted by Levine Cava. It claimed the eviction violated the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The filing also asks a court to rule the eviction violates the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and that the County’s action amounts to unlawful retaliation for criticizing the government.

Miami Seaquarium has lost three animals since August, including Lolita, the beloved orca whale. She died after much publicity about how the Seaquarium would assist in moving her to a sea pen in Washington State.

he USDA has cited the park in the last six months for numerous violations, including allowing animals to languish ill or injured.

Levine Cava has said once The Dolphin Company is out, there are no plans to bring in a new operator. Seaquarium first opened in 1955.

This story was originally published in the Key Biscayne Independent, a WLRN News partner.

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