USDA fines Athens lab $26K for animal welfare violations

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http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-12-04/usda-fines-athens-lab-26k-animal-welfare-violations

USDA fines Athens lab $26K for animal welfare violations

By Nick Coltrain, OnlineAthens.com, Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Animal health research firm TRS Labs Inc. of Athens paid a federal fine this year for violating the Animal Welfare Act.
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited TRS Labs 10 times between March 2012 and March 2013. It faced up to a $10,000 penalty per violation, but was ultimately fined $26,000, according to USDA documents.
 
The violations included three citations for not providing adequate veterinary care and three related to inadequate primary enclosures.
 
The USDA citation report includes statements of gerbils fighting, including one that was euthanized due to severe bite wounds, and a dog with a dime-sized, oozing wound as well as cats being housed in dog kennels with floor slats wide enough for their feet to pass through.
 
The labs’ owner was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon, according to someone who answered the phone at the lab. The noncompliances were found during routine inspections of the facility, according to USDA documents. Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the USDA, said fines can be adjusted for a “variety of reasons,” including the business’ size, its prior history and the gravity of violations.
 
Animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! sent out a statement after the fine was announced decrying the violations.
 
“Allowing animals to suffer and die unnecessarily is inexcusable,” Michael A. Budkie, its executive director, said in the statement. “TRS deserved every penny of this fine and more.”
 
The group had written multiple times to the USDA calling for it to fine the company over the violations. 

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