PETA files new complaint against Oroville Wildlife Sanctuary after volunteer leopard attacks

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OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a new complaint with the US Department of Agriculture against a wildlife foundation in Oroville after a volunteer was attacked by a captive leopard.

Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation owner and executive director Roberta Kirshner said they have 30 years of experience providing safety and education at their sanctuary, which takes care of animals with special needs .

But Debbie Metzler, PETA’s associate director for captive animal law enforcement, said it was actually quite the opposite. She said this incident is another example of a long history of professional misconduct at the Kirshner facility.

“This is not a facility equipped to take care of these animals,” Metzler told FOX40.

Despite being worried, Metzler said she was not surprised at what happened last Saturday. A veteran staff volunteer working in an enclosure with two critically endangered Amur leopards was attacked by one of the animals before it managed to escape its enclosure at the Kirshner Wildlife Foundation.

“She’s lucky to be alive,” Metzler said. “She had five injections on her neck and was hospitalized for two days. ”

The leopard was tranquilized and moved to a safe place.

Metzler said the situation could have been much worse and that is why they filed a complaint on Wednesday – just one of several filed in the past.

“Kirshner was cited by the USDA for some pretty egregious animal welfare violations, including letting the public come into contact with dangerous wildlife, and he was in fact fined over 5,000. $, “Metzler said.

She claimed the foundation was also cited for poor veterinary practices and was also guilty of petting cubs, as seen in Netflix’s controversial “Tiger King” docuseries.

In a recent statement, Kirshner said in part: “The experience and expertise of myself, our volunteers and our local veterinary partners enables us to give these animals a quality life that they could not have. nowhere else.

“We love our volunteers, partners and the community who have embraced and supported us over the past three decades, and we look forward to many more years of touching lives, both human and animal, in a positive way,” said continued his statement. .

“Our hope is that Kirshner will do the right thing and that these animals shouldn’t be there,” Metzler said. “And the USDA must hold Kirshner accountable for these very egregious violations.”

FOX40 has also contacted the USDA for comment on the complaint filed but has yet to receive a response.


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