Zoo Director Convicted of Animal Cruelty

Former Reston Zoo boss gets 30 days jail

Saturday, Sep 29, 2012  |  Updated 11:49 AM EDT
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Reston Zoo Investigation

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Reston Zoo Investigation

Fairfax County officials are looking into allegations of animal cruelty at the Reston Zoo, stemming from a dead wallaby. News4's Jane Watrel reports on the investigation.
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The former director of the Reston Zoo was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 30 days in jail Friday after a former curator testified that she had drowned an injured wallaby in a plastic bucket.

According to The Washington Post, the keeper, Ashley Rood, confronted the director, 26-year-old Meghan Mogensen, after Rood discovered the wallaby's body in a trash bag. Rood testified that she told Mogensen, "I think you and your father are sick and sadistic people, and I don't want to be part of this anymore."

Mogensen's father, Eric Mogensen, owns the Reston Zoo, as well as Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge and Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida. The Reston Zoo has been written up several times for care violations in the past, most recently in a USDA inspection report dated in February of this year.

During Mogensen's trial, Rood testified that some animals at the zoo were euthanized by shooting, while rabbits were slammed into walls and chickens were fed to pythons.

In the case of the wallaby, Mogensen claimed that she had injected the animal with a euthanasia drug. A necropsy found no evidence of the drug in the wallaby's system. Investigators also found two different euthanasia reports on Mogensen's computer, while her search history revealed that she had Googled whether drowning an animal constituted animal cruelty in Virginia.

Mogensen's attorney, Caleb Kershner, said that the conviction will be appealed.

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