Animal rights groups appeal dismissal of lawsuit aimed at freeing Lolita the whale

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MIAMI — Animal rights groups are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at releasing Lolita the killer whale from Miami Seaquarium.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced the filing Tuesday.

The lawsuit challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture's automatic renewal of Miami Seaquarium's Animal Welfare Act license, allowing it to exhibit Lolita.

PETA claims Seaquarium is in violation of at least three of the act's regulations. The group says Lolita is kept in a tank that is smaller than the minimum size required and has no orca companion or shelter from the sun.

Earlier this year, federal officials requested public comment on a proposal to have Lolita included in the endangered species listing for Pugent Sound orcas.

Lolita was captured in 1970 and performs each day at the Seaquarium.

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