SeaQuest Manager Charged With Cruelty: Court Date Set

Trial Scheduled for Ashleigh Belfiore for Allegedly Failing to Seek Veterinary Care for a Sloth Whose Face Was Burned—Twice

For Immediate Release:
August 28, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Littleton, Colo. – PETA has just obtained records revealing that SeaQuest reptile, bird, and mammal manager Ashleigh Belfiore—who was charged with cruelty to animals after a sloth named Flash was burned by a heat lamp in his enclosure and allegedly denied veterinary care—is scheduled to face a criminal trial on September 30.

According to Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) documents, Flash sustained a burn from a heat lamp in his enclosure on or about October 18, 2018, but instead of calling the facility’s attending veterinarian, SeaQuest employees in Littleton applied honey, coconut oil, and Neosporin. About a month later, Flash was burned again—so badly that his entire face was swollen, with scabbing and oozing wounds. Although his food had to be cut into little pieces so that he could eat, staff still failed to call a veterinarian to treat his injuries. Belfiore allegedly lied to animal control officers, telling them that the veterinarian had seen Flash a week after the first burn and recommended treating him with honey and Neosporin. The veterinarian contradicted her statement, saying that she had not seen the sloth, that she would not have prescribed coconut oil or honey, and that given the nature of the injuries sustained in the second incident, she would have treated him for inflammation, infection, and pain.

“This little animal suffered as a result of the way he was kept and then suffered more because of SeaQuest’s failure to provide him with appropriate veterinary care for his injuries,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “This sloth’s suffering is exactly why PETA urges everyone to stay away from this sleazy shopping mall petting zoo.”

While Belfiore was criminally charged with cruelty to animals, the SeaQuest Littleton location and its general manager, David Slater, were both issued warnings. CPW also issued the facility a permit citation, which was among the eight recent citations for violations of state laws that led CPW to suspend its permit for two years.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind