BAKERSFIELD.CALIF. — The California Living Museum has been accused by PETA for animal cruelty, following the deaths of animals in their care.
PETA has sent a letter to Kern County Sheriff's Office to investigate CALM, and its operator, Kern County Superintendent of Schools. PETA is asking KCSO to investigate the facility following three animal deaths at their facility.
Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at PETA, says their call for concern came from a report that was released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The report pointed out that two fisher cats named Taz and Lola, died as a result of flea infestations.
The third animal a skunk, referenced in the USDA report according to PETA, died of starvation which CALM says was not the case at their press conference.
“Not only do they need to close their doors, but everyone involved with these animals need to be charged with animal cruelty,” said Peet.
CALM says they take in over a thousand of wild animals each year that cannot be returned to the wild.
“The fleas are literally draining the blood from the animal's body and causing them to slowly suffocate them death, this is a long-term issue that only happens in cases of severe neglect,” Peet said.
Sharon Adams, curator of animals at CALM adds that there aren't studies on proper flea prevention medications for wild animals so its trial and error.
“The problem with trigger was not that he starved to death,” said Adams.
"He was in physically in good conditions what the necropsy showed is that he died of a virus that he wasn’t showing any symptoms of.”
CALM says they are always looking for ways to improve their care.
“There was also a staffing issue where this was missed for too long and they should have received treatment sooner then they received it,” Adams said.
KCSO tells 23ABC that because a formal complaint was filed, KCSO will do a preliminary investigation.
“We added an animal keeper last year which brings us to eight keeper staff to full time,” said Stephen Sanders, superintendent of schools of Kern County.
KCSO tells us that If they do find anything during their investigation, they will forward their findings to the proper authorities.
“We are looking to contract an onsite veterinary care and we will have access to multiple USDA resources that they have,” said Sanders. "I think that’s PETA’s M.O nationwide and I believe in our staff and volunteers, and
it's ridiculous to call for criminal charges.”