UNR pays $7,446 fine over sheep deaths

6/15/2013 6:30 PM
By Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The University of Nevada, Reno has paid a $7,446 federal fine over the deaths of three sheep at one of its farms in September 2011.

The incident that left 10 sheep without water for five days was the result of human error, and a manager was fired, UNR officials said.

One animal was found dead at UNR's Main Station Field Laboratory in Reno and two others died later during treatment.

University officials said they've taken actions, including retraining employees and changing procedures, to ensure there's no repeat of the incident.

"It's an unfortunate situation that we will prevent from ever happening again," John Hasenau, director of lab animal medicine at UNR, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed the fine after completing an investigation into the deaths.

UNR, in a statement, called the deaths "an unfortunate, isolated incident."

In 2005, UNR paid an $11,400 fine after the USDA cited the university for 46 federal animal welfare violations between May 2004 and March 2005.

Violations included repeatedly leaving 10 research pigs with inadequate water and housing, poor sanitation at animal care facilities, lack of veterinary care, and failure to investigate complaints of animal neglect.

School officials agreed to pay the fine to settle that case but said they disagreed with some of the agency's findings.

In January 2006, a total of 344 sheep at the Main Station farm in Reno drowned after Steamboat Creek overflowed, breached a field levee and trapped the animals in a pasture. The animals drowned in 5 feet of water.

The USDA did not cite UNR for the deaths of some 40 pregnant sheep that died in October 2002 after being left without food or water for up to four days.


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