DENVER – The Colorado Department of Agriculture has served SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium at Littleton’s Southwest Plaza with a cease and desist order for operating without a valid license and in violation of the Pet Animal Care Facility Act.
The inspections and order come after questions about the conditions in which the animals were cared for—specifically the birds and some of the fish kept at the facility.
After failing the inspections, which led to the denial of their license, SeaQuest was issued the cease and desist letter Monday, in which it was ordered to stop “operating as a pet animal sanctuary and retail aquarium facility without possessing a valid license to perform such acts.”
The order says that SeaQuest applied for a pet animal care facility license on May 9 and asked for an exemption to the requirement until the license was issued. That request was denied, as was the application for the license. But the order says that SeaQuest continued operating without a license in violation of Colorado statute.
Among the things SeaQuest needed to do in order to come into compliance was the reduce the number of birds at the facility to below 30.
A spokesperson for SeaQuest told Denver7 Tuesday the company removed parakeets from the facility to get under that number in order to come into compliance.
“We immediately complied and are currently in full compliance with no outstanding requirements. All aviaries, bird shows and all other interactions remain open to guests without interruption,” said Kayla Rambo of PR company Revenue Media Group, whose client is SeaQuest.
Denver7 talked to SeaQuest CEO Vince Covin via Skype. His full interview can be viewed in the player below:
But a state Department of Agriculture spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that the company’s claims it was now in compliance were not true.
“This statement is not fully accurate. As of the time of their last inspection, Seaquest was not in full compliance. Sequest was required, not requested, to comply with the Cease and Desist Order. It is also important to note that being in compliance with the Cease and Desist Order does not equate to being in compliance with all PACFA rules and regulations,” Department of Agriculture Division Director Hollis Glenn said in a statement to Denver7. He said that PACFA “will continue to inspect this facility to ensure compliance with the Cease and Desist Order, and to ensure the safety of the birds at the facility.”
SeaQuest opened earlier this year as part of a makeover at the mall. It shows off animals from around the world, including otters, lobsters, stingrays, birds and caimans, among others. The company has similar facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, Las Vegas and Layton, Utah.
This is a developing story and will be updated.