National watchdog agency files cruelty, neglect complaints against Nowata animal testing laboratory
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now



Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
[email protected] 
[email protected]

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Riner & Associates for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence allowed multiple dogs and cats to suffer with hair loss, skin lesions, lameness, etc. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


National watchdog agency files cruelty, neglect complaints against Nowata animal testing laboratory

From, August 12, 2020

Dogs in lab fed to hordes of ticks, animals abused; new complaint urges lab closure, animal confiscation, maximum federal fine.

A national research watchdog has filed a second federal animal cruelty complaint against a Nowata testing facility, Riner & Associates, calling for multiple animals to be seized and the laboratory to be closed.

The complaint alleges facility has lied to the federal government in multiple reports and failed to meet “professionally acceptable standards governing the care, treatment, and use of animals,” said Michael Budkie, founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

SAEN is a national research watchdog nonprofit that monitors the nation’s research facilities for illegal acts and animal abuse.

“From what we know, they test veterinary products. That’s why they only use dogs and cats to test products for parasites,” Budkie said in an interview.

dog lab
The complaint filed by SAEN against Riner & Associates cites that Beagles were penned in enclosures with portruding nails and sharp points which created a hazard for the animals used in lab experiments.

The most recent complaint against Riner & Associates, filed last week by SAEN with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focuses on photos and video obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request that shows a limping Beagle dog, a virtually hairless cat named Sophie, and dogs runs with rotten wooden structures with broken boards and dangerously protruding nails, the complaint alleges.

Cat Sophie
This female tabby, Sophie, is one of the animals allegedly denied access to veterinary care by Riner & Associates at their animal testing laboratory.

“If there’s a rain, those dogs are literally standing in mud. If you read the inspection report, it says that the cat Sophie hasn’t been used in experiments for over a year. There’s no reason for her to be losing her hair,” Budkie said.

limping Beagle
The complaint also alleged that a Beagle was painfully limping without care, and that another had untreated lesions on its back.

“The thing I want for people to know is that the dogs and cats used at animal testing labs are the exact same as the pets in your home,” Budkie said.

The complaint also discusses an experiment, published in 2020, in which dogs are virtually fed to groups of hordes of starving ticks. Federal regulations require either the use of pain relievers, or an explanation of the absence of analgesics.

Instead, Riner & Associates simply lists all experiments as causing no pain or distress, the complaint alleges.

“Looking at this video, this place doesn’t look like an animal laboratory. It looks more like a puppy mill. I’ve been working on these issues since 1986 and I’ve never seen another animal laboratory that looks like this,” Budkie said.

Most animal testing sites he monitors are sterile environments where dog runs and cages are cleaned daily.

“I think you could very safely say that Riner & Associates would be an embarrassment to the animal testing industry,” Budkie said.

The latest complaint calls for the maximum penalty of $10,000 per infraction, per animal, potential seizure of all animals not involved in experiments, and revocation of the lab’s federal registration, which would effectively close the lab.

“Since when do acceptable standards include allowing a cat to lose 75-percent of her hair and failing to provide veterinary treatment for 11 months? Since when do acceptable standards include allowing a dog to become lame? Since when do acceptable standards include structures with broken boards and dangerously protruding nails?” the complaint asks.

Previous complaints also listed other cats suffering from infestations and sores that were also denied veterinary care, along with a Beagle named Glenn that had lesions to his back that were left untreated, the complaint states.

confined Cat
A USDA inspection report of Riner & Associates cited that dogs and cats were denied timely veterinary care for a variety of medical conditions at the Nowata animal testing laboratory.

A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture inspection report of Riner & Associates filed March 5 cites, “Medical conditions must be appropriately treated, which includes timely veterinarian notification and appropriate follow-up evaluation to assess progress and make changes to the treatment plan when necessary. (The animals) must be assessed by the attending veterinarian within 36 hours and records must be made available to inspectors.”

Records show that Riner & Associates is owned by entomologist John Riner, Ph.D., of Tulsa.

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