Report: Apes in unsafe conditions at the Las Vegas Zoo
If the animals at the Las Vegas Zoo could talk about the conditions they live in, there's no telling what they'd say. But employees can talk, and they gave the Occupational Safety and Health Administration an earful in August, complaining of unsafePhoto: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- If the animals at the Las Vegas Zoo could talk about the conditions they live in, there's no telling what they'd say. But employees can talk, and they gave the Occupational Safety and Health Administration an earful in August, complaining of unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
"It's a depressing and a sad place and an embarrassment to the city of Las Vegas," Lisa Wathne with the Humane Society said.
Wathne visited the zoo in July. A month later, OSHA sent out an investigator who documented many serious hazards. The zoo received violations for electrical problems in the keeper house, no safeguards in the reptile house, and no protective equipment for employees forced to interact with barbary apes.
Animal welfare advocate Linda Faso is particularly concerned with what the USDA wrote zoo owner Pat Dingle up for in late September. Inspectors found the zoo's treatment of their barbary apes "not in accordance with currently accepted professional standards." They cite the example of Sayda, a female ape who is housed alone. They're concerned for her psychological well-being.
"He shouldn't have those primates -- he's not qualified," Faso said. "Those primates are another example of suffering under his care."
USDA is concerned about the people under Pat's care as well. They cited him for promoting a volunteer to zookeeper after working at the facility only seven days. The employee had only been cleaning and feeding the animals and records mentioned nothing about training.
Faso says it's time for Dingle to step aside for someone willing to come in with proper credentials.
Pat Dingle has vowed to fight the OSHA violations. He told the inspector that he was going to have them all dismissed because he "knows people in high places."
The USDA has not proposed any fines yet, but OSHA wants the zoo to pay $13,200 in penalties.