Animal rights group filing complaint after Dizzy the monkey’s escape


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An animal rights group is filing a complaint against the Zoo in Forest Park with the United States Department of Agriculture, following the escape of Dizzy the monkey.

Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) wants the zoo to be fined, after they claim it violated “multiple federal regulations” connected with Dizzy’s escape. They are also calling for investigation into the deaths of two monkeys, who froze to death during a power outage in February of 2015.

“The Forest Park Zoo has shown a high level of incompetence, which has been fatal for at least two primates,” SAEN co-founder Michael Budkie said.

Darlene Blaney, business director for the Zoo in Forest Park, told 22News that the USDA already looked into those deaths, and inspected the zoo, clearing it to continue operations. She added that the zoo is inspected by the USDA every six months anyway, and she is confident that they will not have any issue this time either.

“Everything is up to standards here, we offer excellent care, so we won’t even speak to it,” Blaney said.

Meghan Rothschild, a member of the zoo’s board, said that she had never heard about the complaint, or the group SAEN before. She said that the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) has only good things to say about their facility.

According to a statement the zoo posted on their website, Dizzy escaped his enclosure Tuesday while it was being cleaned. At the time, the employee doing the cleaning stopped to answer a guest’s question, and that is when Dizzy turned a door knob and got out. He remained on the loose for more than 48 hours, until finally being rounded up late Thursday afternoon.

He is now back in his enclosure with his mate, Mitzy. The zoo is planning to have a “welcome home” party for Dizzy sometime next week.

SAEN is a nonprofit organization with a history of calling attention the use of animals in testing, filing numerous complaints against universities over alleged abuse. They have also filed multiple complaints against other zoos, including the Cincinnati Zoo following the shooting death of Harambe the gorilla.

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