Petting zoo animals get homes Some placements are temporary

November 05, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

All the animals from the C&J Amusements petting zoo at the closed Tradersmart have been saved from the slaughterhouse, although some of their newly found homes are temporary.

More than a dozen people have offered to adopt the animals, which included a llama, a pony and three Vietnamese potbellied pigs. Meanwhile, two acquaintances of Donald and Louann Lewis, who operated the zoo as C&J Amusements, will shelter whatever animals are not sold, Mrs. Lewis said yesterday.

The Lewises said they needed to sell the animals -- even at a fraction of their value -- to recoup some of their financial loss, but preferred not to sell them for meat.

"I just sold a few of the goats and one of the sheep for less than what they would bring at the market," Mr. Lewis said.

Mrs. Lewis said she had raised some of the animals since they were a few days old and did not want to see them slaughtered. But the Lewises did not have a place for the animals at their Pasadena home and were searching for people who would buy them or keep them temporarily.

Among the buyers was Ted Kaniewski, who picked up three animals, along with a bale of hay, for his mother, Ann Massey, in Brooklyn, who often took her grandchildren to visit the petting zoo.

"Mom felt sorry for them, and we've got a couple of acres," Mr. Kaniewski said.

As he paid for the sheep and goat, he asked Mr. Lewis how to take care of the animals, which are accustomed to being given milk in a bottle and fed by hand.

The petting zoo was one of dozens of business casualties at the Tradersmart bazaar on Ritchie Highway. The market was closed late last month by the Anne Arundel County fire marshal, who said it was in violation of safety codes. The market, opened nearly a year ago, did not have a building occupancy permit.

Most vendors did not know until they arrived at the market Oct. 22 that the building was being closed.

"It's a hell of a way to close," said Jay Vito, owner of Gifts 'n Things, who said he drove 42 miles from his home in Damascus, Montgomery County, to find the building shut.

Vendors were told last week that they had to vacate their stands by yesterday, but manager Chuck Jackson was giving extra time to those who asked.

"Nobody's locked out of the building," he said. "The only thing I want them to understand is that my payroll stops tomorrow [Friday]. After that, it's the goodness of my heart."

Mr. Vito, who loaded about $4,000 worth of merchandise into his car and a rented trailer, said he was expecting another $2,000 in holiday merchandise to arrive any day. But he has no place to sell it because most indoor flea markets are booked at this time of year.

Additionally, he said, it would take him many months to pay wholesalers for the goods.

Vendors were out thousands of dollars -- some as much as $68,000. Mr. Jackson, who also owned Bonkers, was looking for a place to relocate the nonalcoholic nightclub for youths. Other merchants said they did not make enough money to rent stores.

Mr. Jackson said he had offered to help some merchants store their wares and volunteered the services of two Tradersmart workers to help move their goods.

Richard Kabat, co-owner of Tradersmart, said last week that the market never caught on with consumers and that he had expected to keep it open only through the holiday season unless business turned around. But because business was not good, he could not justify making the repairs sought by fire and building inspectors.

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