Zoo owner charged with mis­treat­ing an­i­mals

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U.S. of­fi­cials filed a com­plaint ac­cus­ing the own­ers of a Florida zoo of fail­ing to prop­erly care for the an­i­mals, in­clud­ing eu­th­a­niz­ing them by shoot­ing and drown­ing them.

The charges by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture say the 20-hectare Gulf Breeze Zoo wasn’t prop­erly su­per­vised when a child was bit­ten by a camel. Rab­bits weren’t sep­a­rated so their ba­bies were eaten, in­jured or had to be eu­th­a­nized. The tiger en­clo­sure didn’t have proper ven­ti­la­tion and other an­i­mal en­clo­sures had rusted fences and ex­posed nails, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

The charges also al­lege the zoo, which houses hun­dreds of an­i­mals and re­cently wel­comed a baby gi­raffe, didn’t use proper vet­eri­nary care and re­lied on ex­pired med­i­ca­tions and even shot an an­i­mal as a means of eu­thana­sia. An opos­sum es­caped from an im­proper en­clo­sure and was found dead the next day. Lion and tiger food bins weren’t cleaned and goats and sheep didn’t have ad­e­quate shel­ter from sun and rain, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

Owner Eric Mo­gensen and his daugh­ter, Meghan, were charged with mul­ti­ple vi­o­la­tions of the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act at the Gulf Breeze fa­cil­ity, as well as two other fa­cil­i­ties they own in Vir­ginia — the Re­ston Zoo and the Vir­ginia Sa­fari Park in Nat­u­ral Bridge. Com­plaints in­volv­ing the Vir­ginia fa­cil­i­ties in­clude eu­th­a­niz­ing an an­i­mal by drown­ing, and mis­han­dling of a spi­der mon­key that re­sulted in its death due to hy­pother­mia.

Emails and a phone mes­sage left at the zoo were not im­me­di­ately re­turned Sun­day.

The Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States said Meghan Mo­gensen pleaded guilty to an­i­mal cru­elty while work­ing at the Re­ston Zoo in Vir­ginia, and was barred from mak­ing de­ci­sions about an­i­mal care and eu­thana­sia. The North­west Florida Daily News re­ports she later trans­ferred to the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

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