Animal rights activists are raising questions about the location of a new dolphin aquarium that is set to open in mid-October. The facility is adjacent to Scottsdale but within the borders of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which means it is not subject to local and county ordinances or state animal welfare laws.
“Because they’re so controversial, the public should be involved through public hearings on that permitting process, and that didn’t occur,” said Courtney Vail, a longtime activist on issues relating to whales and dolphins.
Vail and other protesters say they were left out of the process by which Dolphinaris Arizona and Odysea Aquarium were permitted to open their doors on tribal land. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is a sovereign nation, which means it is governed by its own laws and regulations.
“We are not able to know or understand how that business license was granted and whether we have any recourse. As far as I know, we don’t,” said Vail.
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