Saturday, November 09, 2002

WILDLIFE WAYSTATION OWNER SURRENDERS LICENSE

Feds bust Wildlife Waystation
By Kerry Cavanaugh Staff Writer

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST -- The founder of the popular Wildlife Waystation has admitted to nearly 300 violations of federal animal welfare laws and agreed to a suspension of her license until conditions are improved, officials said Friday....

A 65-page complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over the Wildlife Waystation, noted 299 instances from 1998 to August 2000 in which the nonprofit organization founded by Martine Colette "willfully" violated standards for keeping animals for exhibition.

The violations include inadequately trained personnel and volunteers; poorly kept health records; chimpanzees housed in overcrowded, poorly lit and unsound cages...

The settlement allows the 600-or-so animals -- including lions, bears, wolves, chimpanzees and birds -- to remain at the Waystation, located on Little Tujunga Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest....

But the USDA complaint outlines scores of instances in which the Waystation failed to establish and maintain programs of adequate veterinary care, including some that resulted in the death of a chimpanzee [who] was immobilized in an unsafe cage....