University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut comprises an instance of a
facility that had been the target of enforcement activity by USDA/APHIS.
Charges were filed against the University of Connecticut for inadequate
Veterinary Care, IACUC violations, Sanitation, Handling and Housing in
March of 2001. The charges were settled in January of 2002 when the
university paid a $129,000 fine. However, it appears that the fine has
made little difference at the University of Connecticut.
On 5/30/01 the university was cited for many different
violations. Uncorrected violations from a previous inspection included:
shelter from sunlight, structural strength, and housekeeping.
More serious violations were listed in the area of
personnel qualifications. "Twenty-two naked mole rats died after several
days of husbandry neglect due to the caretaker/principal investigator
being on vacation. The substitute caretaker was not contacted to care for
the animals." One research protocol continued after approval for the
experiment had expired. "An incident report on 2/01/01 detailed an
investigation into a serious veterinary care issue involving a rabbit
under protocol Y1401301. A rabbit had eviscerated post-operatively and a
technician attempted to surgically correct the problem without contacting
the attending veterinarian. The rabbit died." The inspector goes on to
state: "The Institutional Official of this research facility has assured
compliance with the Assurance statements on the Annual Report of Research
Facility (APHIS Form 7023) by signing the Annual Report. It is apparent
from the deficiencies described in this report that these Assurances are
not being met."
On 8/13/01 the university is cited for a number of
violations regarding cat surgeries. The issues cited include IACUCs,
Personnel Qualifications, and Veterinary care. Several cats were
inadequately observed after surgery, leading to the death of one cat: "Cat
F083 surgery on 07-11-01 ended about 11 am. Next observation 135pm by the
attending veterinarian, he noted the need to check every 15 – 20 minutes
until recovered. Next observation 335pm cat still out, breathing very
shallow – non-responsive. Called the attending veterinarian. 405pm not
breathing – cyanotic dead. The surgeon explained that the animal was left
unattended but checked about every 2 hours due to the people being in
another building." There are also violations in the area of record keeping
requirements. "Surgery record for cat F083 not available for inspection.
The surgeon made out a new record and disposed of the original one.
The inspector makes a telling comment while reporting a
repeat violation in the area of personnel qualifications: "It is apparent
from the items noted in this inspection that the facility has not ensured
that personnel are qualified to perform their duties. The person involved
in protocol Y140801 was also involved in the protocol from the last
inspection Y 140 1301. The facility procedure for post-op care indicates
that the animal will be observed continuously until fully recovered. The
surgeon said that the animal was observed every two hours."
On September 11. 2001 the university is cited with 4
repeat violations in the areas of IACUC, Personnel Qualifications,
Veterinary care, and watering, and sanitation. On 11/14/01 the facility is
again cited for inadequate veterinary care when 7 mole rats died post-op.
On 6/11/02 the laboratory is again cited for problems in facilities, and
On 8/26/02 the IACUC is again cited for multiple
violations regarding protocol Y 140-1801. Incorrect medications were
administered, and other drugs were administered at 150% of the correct
dosage. As a result "The animal was unconscious for approximately 7 hours
after receiving these medications. The animal also had to be supported
with fluid therapy for 2 days post-op, and was inappetent during this time
and received diazepam as an appetite stimulant. Overdose of medications
can result in harm to animals. This protocol has to be reviewed, and no
other animals used until the review takes place."
"A previously suspended protocol, Y140-1801, was
originally suspended due to personnel qualifications. The protocol was
modified, the appropriate personnel received instruction, and the activity
allowed to re-commence. The first surgery with this amended protocol, the
personnel did not follow the amended anesthetic protocol for this
procedure, leading to anesthetic complications. The protocol has again
been suspended, and personnel have been notified that they will no longer
be allowed to perform this procedure. The use of improperly qualified
personnel can result in harm to animals. Personnel must be adequately
trained to perform activities they are conducting. The personnel
qualifications need to be evaluated thoroughly before any activity is
allowed to commence."
During the same inspection the food for one pig was
noted to be contaminated by bird droppings. And flies were a major problem
in the Upper Swine Unit.
On January 6, 2003 the University of Connecticut is
again cited for violations in the area of Personnel Qualifications,
Veterinary Care, and feeding.