OSHKOSH, WI – The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has slapped the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a rare “CRITICAL” citation for violating federal law under the Animal Welfare Act in connection to the escape and death of two squirrels and the escape of two other squirrels, according to a report obtained by a national research watchdog group.

The inspection report for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh reveals that four ground squirrels escaped from their enclosure leading to the “necessary euthanasia” of two of the squirrels. The report also indicates that the laboratory still does not know how the squirrels escaped.

SAEN, an Ohio-based nonprofit watchdog group that monitors U.S. research facilities for illegal activity and animal abuse, has filed an Official Complaint with the USDA alleging multiple federal violations and calling for the opening of a USDA investigation of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. SAEN is also urging the leveling of the maximum federal fine of $10,000 per infraction/per animal.

“The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh not only allowed four squirrels to escape, leading to the death of two of them,” said Stacey Ellison, SAEN research analyst, “but instead of ensuring that the illegal and unsafe situation was definitely fixed, they just made the room safer for the next time it happens.”

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