Investigator’s Notebook

Friday, December 4, 2009
“[A worker] told me that she had killed a rabbit when she first started working at the facility. She said that she was shaking a wire cage floor, which is above the tray, to remove the feces off of it and she slid the tray right into his/her foot. She said ‘I cut the foot right off and the bone was sticking out.’”

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
“[A worker] told me that one rabbit had died due to the extensive burns he/she developed from sitting in his/her urine. … She said that the rabbit had ‘big pus sores’ on his/her body and ‘smelled like death.’ … She also told me that the previous head caretaker … was caught beating a cat with a water hose and that [the former head caretaker] used to ‘kick the shit out of dogs.’”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
“[A worker] showed me a rabbit whose testicles were very red, swollen and raw. This is the same rabbit whose testicles [a supervisor] had punctured with a needle yesterday. When I asked [the employee] about it, she thought that the testicles were raw due to the rabbit urinating and sitting in his urine.”

Monday, February 8, 2010
“[An employee] informed me that those dogs who are currently infested with roundworms are being kept infested so that PLRS would be prepared if an experiment requiring such animals was sponsored. The worms are administered through a syringe that is shoved down the dogs’ throats. Some dogs have been re-infested with worms, to ensure that they remain in this condition. She said that the last study that these dogs were used in was over six months ago.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
“I witnessed several cats who were having seizures, foaming at the mouth, and unable to open their eyes. Others were only able to open their eyes slightly, but appeared to not be able to see. … I saw cats bleeding from the mouth and nose, shaking violently, and screaming in a manner that I have never heard a cat scream before.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
“[An employee] brought in a female ‘flea cat.’ A ‘flea cat’ is a cat who is infested with fleas, so PLRS will have a supply of fleas on hand, should they be contracted to use fleas on animals in an experiment. This particular cat had been infested with fleas and [the worker] was washing the fleas off of her with an agent that is intended to kill ticks and fleas. I saw several sores on the cat’s neck, back and stomach. The sores were red, raw and varied in size from the diameter of a pencil eraser to that of a nickel. [The employee] informed me that this cat had been digging at the fleas.”

Monday, March 22, 2010
“I witnessed [a supervisor] grab a cat, who had escaped from a cage, by his or her head. The cat then screamed and [the supervisor] tossed the cat back into the cage. [The supervisor] said ‘get your ass in there’ and ‘you are working’ to the cat. She tossed the cat hard enough that I heard a ‘bang’ sound when the cat hit the back of the cage.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
“[The supervisor] showed me how she attempts to surgically treat dogs who have a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid, or ‘cherry eye.’ She claimed that she was trained to do this by [the laboratory’s contract veterinarian] and that she has done this many times before. [The supervisor] admitted that the female dog she was performing this procedure on was not sedated enough, but said, ‘I gave her more than I should have.’ … [The supervisor] clamped the prolapsed eyelid for approximately two minutes. Then, while using a tool that looked like a pair of pliers, [she] started to pull the prolapsed portion out and said ‘I’ve never used these things before so they might be worthless.’ … The dog appeared to be conscious the entire time, as she moved her limbs and head throughout the procedure. [The supervisor] did not wear gloves, nor did she scrub her hands prior to performing this procedure. The table that the dog was placed on for the procedure was filthy, with old blood and food crumbs on it.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
“While [a senior caretaker] and I were inside the runs of room A1 cleaning the ears and clipping the claws of cats, I witnessed [her] handling several of the cats roughly. She held most of the cats by their ears, scalp, and scruff, while I clipped their toenails. She coerced two of these cats into gripping the wire fencing of the run with their fore and hind claws. She then pulled the cats quickly away from the wire by their torsos. When she did this to the first cat, she said to the cat, ‘Grab. Do it, so I can pull your nails out really good.’ [She] also said she did this to break off their claws. I saw these two cats’ paws bleeding after she did this. She pressed one cat down onto the resting area for the cats, in order to get a better grip to clean this cat’s ears and then pressed this same cat up against the wire fencing of the run for the same purpose. She slammed a second cat up against the wire fence.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
“[The supervisor] told all caretakers to ‘write up’ dogs who looked ‘red’ or had ‘hair loss’ in case the USDA inspector came in. Based on my experience with [the supervisor], I suspect that any such [forms] submitted will likely not elicit treatment from [the laboratory’s contract veterinarian], but are intended only to give the misleading impression that caretakers are encouraged to report sick and injured animals, who in turn are examined and receive adequate treatment. This way, if the USDA inspector inquires about a specific animal, it will appear that (s)he is actually being cared for.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010
“While weighing cats in room 28, I witnessed [another senior caretaker] slap a cat on the head because the cat had scratched her on the back while she was holding him/her. … After this incident, [she] appeared to be upset, as she was cursing and threw several cats about 3′ through the air against the back of runs which confine them. The impacts were hard enough that a couple of cats lost their footing and landed on their sides/back when they hit the floor. … I witnessed [a senior caretaker] pull a cat—who had escaped from her grip—by the tail for approximately 10′ while trying to catch him/her.”

Saturday, August 7, 2010
“While cleaning room ten, I recorded video of rabbit 4096, who had what appeared to be burns about the size of quarters on his or her hindquarters and on the bottoms of his or her feet. There was also a lot of matted, stained fur on the hindquarters that I was unable to see through; there may be more sores underneath it. … These are the same type of burns that [the laboratory’s contract veterinarian] diagnosed as ‘cage sores’ on rabbit 4095, for whom to my knowledge she never provided or prescribed any type of treatment. … I informed [another senior caretaker] of these rabbits’ conditions. She said that rabbit 4096 came over from room 33, where ‘most’ rabbits’ ‘butts look like that because [of] the way the grates are in the cages. The water sits on them.’ … I was told to not write the rabbits up as such conditions …are ‘normal’ for the rabbits, whom [she] said were ‘fine.’”

Sunday, August 22, 2010
“Prior to clocking in, [an employee] said that she was surprised that PLRS put so many of the dogs ‘down.’ She said that she was happy that they ‘killed’ Brutus, because he was one of the dogs who jumps on her and, as she said, ‘I hate him.’ When I asked her how she prevented him from jumping on her, she said ‘I smacked him.’”

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