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Miami-Dade County serves Miami Seaquarium with eviction notice

Miami-Dade County serves Miami Seaquarium with eviction notice
Miami-Dade County serves Miami Seaquarium with eviction notice 02:39

VIRGINIA KEY - Time's up for the Miami Seaquarium after the county officially served The Dolphin Company with an eviction notice.

"We are not doing anything to compromise the well-being of the animals, and we will respectfully continue with the appropriate legal action, which is eviction," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Monday's move comes after The Dolphin Company filed a federal lawsuit against the county Friday, they want a federal judge to block the eviction, alleging lease violations and harm to reputation among other things. 

In a news release, The Dolphin Company says made this decision with "heavy hearts and clear minds" -- but said "fair treatment can overcome challenges,"

The Miami Seaquarium has been embroiled in controversy for years.

The USDA reports that the Seaquarium wasn't adequately caring for the animals.

One report stating that a nail was found in a dolphin's throat.

"If this was a situation where it was dogs or cats that were being hoarded without being provided appropriate care, we would be able to confiscate them, but because these animals are owned by a powerful corporation with a team of attorneys— it's delayed," said Crystal Heath, a veterinarian and executive director of Our Honor.

Heath checked out the Seaquarium over the weekend, and she says what she witnessed was disturbing.

"The reef tank still looked like it was in bad condition, the water quality was really poor, there were a lot of fish with cloudy eyes," said Heath.

Other animal advocates say many fish at the Seaquarium simply can't live in these conditions.

"These are essentially amusement parks that exist to entertain humans, not protect the species. The amusement parks don't offer anything like they would experience in the wild," said Lisa Cabrera Holtz, Senior Programs Manager, with World Animal Protection.

The county says it will continue to monitor the property and the well-being of the animals, but says ultimately only The Dolphin Company can move them because they own the animals.

We reached out to The Dolphin Company requesting an interview and have not yet heard back.

As for the eviction, the county says it must go through the legal process, so it's unclear on when exactly that will happen.

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