A nonprofit keeping lions and tigers outside Hillsboro has been fined $10,000 by Washington County officials for code violations, including running an exotic animal exhibit on a property that can only be used as a farm.
On June 4, a hearings officer ruled that A Walk on the Wild Side also violated county code by failing to secure permits for its cages.
Last July, WW examined the curious case of A Walk on the Wild Side, and the odd legal argument its owners were deploying in a fight with regulators. The nonprofit's operators, Cheryl Jones and Steve Higgs, keep exotic animals on an old horse farm at the edge of Portland's suburbs and transport them in a fifth-wheeler up and down the West Coast to county fairs and birthday parties.
When county officials tried to shut them down under land-use rules that say the property can only be used as a farm, Jones and Higgs argued that they are in fact farmers. Their agricultural product? Tiger poop.
Jones and Higgs attracted some high-profile supporters—including their landlord, Clackamas County hauling tycoon Terry Emmert.
But their argument hasn't carried water with the hearing officer, who ruled the couple owes $5,000 for each code violation.
The Portland Tribune first reported the fines.
Jones declined comment on the ruling to WW.
Jones and Higgs can now fight the ruling in Washington County Circuit Court or at the state Land Use Board of Appeals. County officials are still muling a larger rule change that would allow the operation of exotic-animal parks if they get accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.