BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – PETA is calling for criminal charges to be filed against the California Living Museum, alleging cruelty and neglect of its residents.
This after reports released by the department of agriculture exposed the death of three animals within the last two years.
“Our team of animal keepers work tirelessly to care for our animals, unfortunately, animal deaths do happen,” said Steve Sanders, chief of staff with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office. “When this happens we don’t make excuses, we own it and learn from it and we always seek to improve what we do.”
Inspection reports from the United States Department of Agriculture exposed the deaths of two fisher cats infested with fleas and a skunk found with no food in its stomach.
According to the report, the fisher cats died spring 2018 after staff failed to treat them for a severe flea infestation. A necropsy report on one of the cats said it had thousands of fleas.
Peta quickly jumped on the issue.
“In these deaths, the fleas drain the body of blood until the animal slowly suffocates to death,” said Brittany Peete, director of captive animal law enforcement with PETA. “These deaths are extremely cruel. This animal would’ve suffered terribly.”
And Calm took full responsibility for it.
“Unfortunately with these fishers there was a staffing issue was it was missed for too long,” said Sharon Adams, curator of animals at CALM. “They should’ve received treatment sooner.”
The skunk was found dead in February. The necropsy report on the animal found its stomach and intestines empty, but findings from a microscopic examination of its tissue were consistent with a viral infection.
“What the necropsy shows was that he died of a virus,” said Adams. “There was never an issue with starvation. what was a little weird was that he had an empty track, but zookeepers did note that he was eating.”
Still, PETA is calling for criminal charges against the zoo.
“These aren’t the sort of incidents that happen at a reputable facility,” said Peete. “This is a culture of neglect and cruelty.”
We reached out to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office who confirmed they have received a formal complaint from PETA.
They added they will do a preliminary investigation to see if it falls under their jurisdiction and from there will forward their findings to the appropriate authorities.