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Watchdog group calls out University of Arizona for animal abuse and deaths

Wants maximum federal fine $10,000 per animal
University of Arizona 1
Posted at 10:17 AM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 09:34:59-04

EDITORIAL UPDATE: This article originally incorrectly included a statement indicating that Dr. Charles A. Downs was involved and blamed in this incident, when in fact the material cited as the source for that statement is not related.


National watchdog group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) is calling out the University of Arizona for breaking federal law in the negligent deaths of four animals.

The non-profit animal advocacy organization cites a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report as evidence for their complaint.

This report says the university's Animal Care Manager "administered an incorrect levamisole dose causing an acute levamisole toxicity," which fatally poisoned three young sheep on Friday, September 10.

Just over a month later, a university staff member injured a bat when moving equipment, leading to an immediate euthanization of the animal.

SAEN's federal complaint is filed against the university with Director of Animal Care Operations of the USDA Dr. Robert Gibbens. They are calling for a full investigation and federal penalty.

Associate Vice President of External Communications for the University of Arizona Pam Scott addressed the deaths.

There was an unfortunate incident in which three sheep were given incorrect doses of a dewormer.

Immediately upon learning of this error, the university followed its required timely procedures and filed a report with the USDA.

The USDA inspected the facilities and interviewed staff and found no further concerns.

The staff involved were provided additional training to help prevent this from happening again.
- Pam Scott

Since the research was supported through U.S Public Health Service funds, specifically National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and grant UL1 TR000454, SAEN advocates want the university to receive the maximum federal fine of $10,000 per infraction/per animal.

This total comes to $40,000 for the deaths of these three sheep and one bat involved.

Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.