Seattle, WA – Alyne Fortgang, a Seattle resident, filed a lawsuit on March 12, 2014 seeking a court order declaring that the Woodland Park Zoological Society be made subject to Washington State’s Public Records Act.
The Zoo’s answer flatly rejects any obligation under the law to tell tax payers how they spend our money or care for the animals.
Fortgang is Co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and as such, has filed numerous public records requests to the Zoo about the health and welfare of the three elephants held there. The Zoo has routinely withheld information, claimed it had no records pertaining to the request, or provided information that later would prove to be grossly inaccurate.
Fortgang asserts the Zoo functions as a “hybrid” public agency when it took over running the Zoo as a public park under a contract with the City of Seattle. That contract promises substantial tax dollars which are essential to the Zoo’s operations. In 2013, Zoo received over $10.4 million taxpayer dollars, which increases each year. The contract also provides the Zoo with the use of City-owned buildings and park land for free.
“Public records laws exist so tax payers know how their money is being spent. What is the Zoo trying to hide?” said Alyne Fortgang.
Alyne Fortgang is co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, a NARN Campaign. Friends raises awareness about the plight of the three elephants living on display at the Woodland Park Zoo. Friends hopes the Zoo will make the humane decision to retire Bamboo, Chai, and Watoto to a sanctuary in a warmer climate that would offer them vast spaces to roam.