According to a press release from In Defense of Animals, the USDA has fined the Los Angeles Zoo for failing to provide veterinary care to Asian elephant Gita, who died in 2006.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has hit the Los Angeles Zoo with a stipulated penalty of $3,281 for failure to provide veterinary care in the 2006 death of the elephant Gita, according to information just provided to In Defense of Animals (IDA) by the USDA.

“It’s outrageous that the USDA took so long to come to this pathetic conclusion, especially when the L.A. Zoo’s negligence caused Gita to suffer a slow and agonizing death,” said Catherine Doyle, IDA campaign director. “The paltry fine is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for the L.A. Zoo. It’s a sad reflection on how little value is placed on the life of an endangered species like the Asian elephant.”

Gita’s death on June 10, 2006, made headlines after IDA exposed the zoo’s failure to provide veterinary care to her after she collapsed and was unable to rise. Despite being observed down on the ground overnight, zoo personnel took no action to help the elephant, who died soon after keepers discovered the ailing elephant in the morning. It was estimated that Gita lay suffering for as long as 17 hours.

For decades Gita suffered from painful chronic foot disease and arthritis caused by inadequate conditions for elephants at L.A. Zoo. Her necropsy report noted that her severe arthritis or an extremely infected abscess on her back (caused by Gita leaning against her pen to take pressure off her painful front feet and joints) may have triggered a blood clotting disorder that caused her collapse and subsequent heart failure.

You can also check out the related AP article.

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