Zoo CEO denies allegations

The CEO of Gulf Breeze Zoo denies allegations that he and his daughter willfully violated the Animal Welfare Act, as stated in a May 1 complaint by the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“The USDA has been notified that all allegations in the complaint have been deemed incorrect and denied by our zoos,” Eric Mogensen, CEO and corporate director of Virginia Safari Park, Reston Zoo and The Gulf Breeze Zoo stated in an email Friday night. “Our formal response to the complaint is being handled by our corporate attorney. The Gulf Breeze Zoo has had only very minor non-compliant items since our purchase in 2009, and all were fixed immediately. The zoo has made remarkable upgrades and is very proud of our accomplishments in our animal care and the benefits we provide the community.”

The USDA is investigating the complaint, which in part alleges  Mogensen and his daughter, Meghan Mogensen, improperly handled animals, failed to maintain enclosures to “protect the animals from injury,” and failed to “establish and maintain programs of adequate veterinary care.”

According to the USDA website, a complaint gives notice of formal allegations regarding possible violations and does not mean the respondent is guilty of these violations.

Read the full story in the June 25 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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