A giraffe that featured in the movie The Hangover Part III has found himself at the center of two criminal trials after it was seized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The animal, named Stanley, has lived at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu since 2015, according to a report on the case by ABC 7 Eyewitness News. The giraffe has been “seized in place” by the CDFW as evidence in two pending trials against its owner and separately against the operator of Malibu Wine Safaris, where the giraffe is an attraction.
In 2013’s The Hangover sequel Zach Galifianiakis’ character Alan Garner purchases a giraffe (Stanley) which is later decapitated on a low overpass.
Dakota Semler, owner and CEO of Malibu Wine Safaris, faces misdemeanor criminal charges of “maintaining an animal facility or a wild animal without a license.”
His father, Ron Semler—who owns the giraffe—is facing charges of giving false information in his application for a “restricted species” permit from CDFW.
Dakota Semler and Ron Semler have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“Right now, they’re in unlawful possession of a giraffe,” CDFW’s Captain Patrick Foy told ABC 7.
Though legally seized as evidence, Stanley has not been removed from the Saddlerock Ranch because of the difficulties of relocating an 18-foot-tall African giraffe. They are the tallest land animals on the planet.
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has said that no animal facility license was issued to any member of the Semler family or to Malibu Wine Safaris.
The CDFW sent a letter to Ron Semler in June last year, citing him for falsely claiming he was in compliance with all county laws on his application for a restricted species permit.
“One of those criteria for being authorized via a permit is they cannot be in violation of any local ordinances,” Foy said.
Semler was instructed to transfer the giraffe to a permitted facility, move him out of the state or humanely destroy him within 30 days. The department, which oversees animal welfare in the state, later said it had no plans to destroy the animal.
Semler says he is not legally affiliated with Malibu Wine Safaris and is appealing CDFW’s denial of his permit.
Malibu Wine Safaris is facing other difficulties. Many customers are seeking refunds for safaris that were booked before or during the COVID-19 pandemic which did not take place. The company’s general manager Jesse Harbison said they had “every intention of processing the refunds” and had already paid out “thousands.”
The safari company’s “Bucket List Experiences” received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $630,762 in April last year, according to ABC 7, while the ranch is reportedly worth $12 million.
Ron Semler has previously told a court that his net worth is more than $100 million.
A reticulated giraffe is seen at the Africam Safari ecological park, in Puebla, Mexico, on January 27, 2021. A giraffe from “The Hangover Part III” is now evidence in two impending trials.
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