Allegheny College student gets 'appropriate disciplinary action' following animal neglect
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Allegheny College student gets 'appropriate disciplinary action' following animal neglect

From Keith Gushard, MeadvillTribune.com, June 13, 2019

A female Allegheny College student received "appropriate disciplinary action" and her on-campus research project was terminated in early March for animal neglect, the college confirmed Wednesday.

The actions were taken after it was discovered she tossed out two live Sprague-Dawley rat pups and disposed of 12 other dead ones covertly, according to an incident report dated March 6.

The college self-reported the incident to the National Institute of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. A copy of the incident report was given to The Meadville Tribune by Stop Animal Exploitation Now, a nonprofit group based in Milford, Ohio, that monitors U.S. research facilities for illegal behavior and animal abuse.

The incident took place March 2 at the college's Carnegie Hall, according to the report.

"Corrective action was immediately taken and the care of the animals was transferred to a staff member who is an animal research specialist and student access to the animal colony was revoked," the report said. The college's Animal Research Committee met March 5 and "voted unanimously to suspend and terminate the previously approved animal research protocol."

Ron Cole, the college's provost and dean, met with the Animal Research Committee's chair and agreed with the vote "that particular animal research protocol has been suspended and terminated and the student is no longer conducting research with vertebrate animals on campus," the report said.

In a statement emailed to the Tribune on Wednesday, Cole confirmed the Animal Research Committee investigated and found a violation of policy occurred.

"The college self-reported the incident with the appropriate documentation to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and the case was resolved," Cole said in the statement. "Our animal research program has been, and still is, in good standing with all federal offices that regulate animal welfare. Appropriate disciplinary action was taken against the student involved."

Cole declined to identify the student, whether she still was an Allegheny College student or what actions were taken against her.

"While the college is not able to provide any additional information on this matter, I can offer assurance that we take animal care very seriously," Cole said. "In this case we took swift action, reported the incident openly to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, and will continue to follow and enforce relevant protocol and policies."

Michael A. Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has written the college, calling for the expulsion of the student if she still is enrolled at Allegheny.

If the student is pursuing further education in the life sciences, then the report of Allegheny College incident should be forwarded to the school where she currently is enrolled, Budkie said.

"Anyone who would throw living animals out like trash should never be permitted to have anything to do with animals again," Budkie said. "This kind of total disregard for life must not be tolerated.

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