Animal rights group files complaint against Oregon Zoo over lion injury
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

ACTION ALERT:

Contact the USDA to Demand a Maximum FINE against the Oregon Zoo:

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
[email protected]
[email protected]

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Oregon Zoo for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence cut off the end of a lion's tail. Zawadi's injury was entirely the result of zoo staff carelessness. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Animal rights group files complaint against Oregon Zoo over lion injury
By Kale Williams, OregonLive.com, June 15, 2016

An animal rights group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday over an incident earlier this week in which a lion lost part of its tail after it got caught in a hydraulic door.

The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, called the lion's injuries a "clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act," which mandates that zoos handle animals in a way that "does not cause trauma...physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort."

"The injury occurred because a guillotine style door was closed on the tail of the lion," Michael Budkie, executive director of the group, wrote in the complaint.

"This injury could have been avoided very easily, if the zoo staff had simply paid closer attention and waited to close the door until Zawadi was a sufficient distance away from the door."

The incident happened Monday morning when Zawadi, a 450-pound African Lion, came into a training area from the outdoor portion of his Predators of the Serengeti habitat.

Video of the incident, which emerged Tuesday, showed Zawadi jump and let out a muffled roar as the door pinched down on his tail, severing the tuft at the end.

Animal-care staff immediately reversed the door, and were able call him back to receive care for the injury," animal curator Michael Illig said in a press release.

The tip had to be amputated, zoo officials said, but Zawadi is expected to recover.

"He lost the tip of his tail just above the tuft," zoo veterinarian Dr. Tim Storms said in a statement.

"For a 450-pound lion, that's a relatively small injury, but we are treating it seriously. After a brief medical procedure he is recovering well. We expect him to heal without any complications."

A spokesman for the Oregon Zoo, Hova Najarian, said they had already reached out to the USDA about the incident, but were unaware of the complaint until The Oregonian/OregonLive brought it to their attention.

"If an investigation is initiated, we will of course cooperate fully," Najarian said in an email. He also noted that in the most recent inspection, conducted in March, the zoo was found to be in complete compliance with federal regulations.

Budkie, however, insisted that someone be held responsible and pointed to past inspections that found the zoo in violation of the Animal Welfare Act with regards to their facilities, water quality and animal food storage.

"I don't see any excuse for this," he told The Oregonian/OregonLive by phone on Wednesday.

Last year, The San Francisco Zoo was fined for the 2014 death of Kabibe, a 16-month-old lowland gorilla who was crushed by an electric door. The zoo said an employee breached protocol by not keeping their hand on an emergency stop button, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The fine levied against the San Francisco Zoo of $1,750 was panned as "ridiculously small" by animal rights activists at the time and Budkie, in his complaint, asked that the Oregon Zoo be hit with the maximum penalty $10,000 per infraction, per animal.

A spokeswoman for the USDA said they would be looking into the complaint to determine if the zoo was in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, but "at this time there is no open investigation."

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