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Legnica. Palm house employees and city gardener accused of animal abuse

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Parrots, monkeys and turtles from the Municipal Palm House in Legnica were kept in terrible conditions, which made many of them fall ill, the prosecutor’s office said. On Monday, the indictment in this case was filed with the District Court in Legnica. The city gardener, two managers of the facility and the veterinarian who was supposed to look after the animals will be responsible for animal abuse.

In 2007, animals were brought to the historic palm house in Legnica: parrots, pheasants, peacocks, quails, amphibious turtles and monkeys. The Palm House is under the authority of the Legnica city hall. The plants and animals were to be looked after by employees of the Legnickie Przedsiębiorstwo Gospodarki Komunalnej.

Problems arose during the renovation of the palm house in 2018. It was discovered that the animals at that time were transported to a place where they had terrible conditions.

Read also: Minus promises. “Heart for animals” lost to the fur lobby

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A total of 30 animals died

– The two utility rooms to which the animals were moved were small, damp and moldy, had limited access to sunlight, and did not have proper ventilation. It was not possible to maintain a constant temperature and air humidity there, and even more so to diversify the climatic conditions depending on the species needs of specific animals. The rooms were additionally heated with radiators, said Lidia Tkaczyszyn from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Legnica.

– Animals were kept in makeshift stalls that did not provide basic living conditions. According to the opinion of the veterinarian appointed in this case, these conditions posed a threat to their life and health. The animals were not subjected to the necessary prophylactic treatments, vaccinations or diagnostic tests. The animals were fed, although the type of food and the method of administration were not correct, the prosecutor added.

Despite the poor living conditions of animals, more animals were admitted to the Palm House. From February 2020 to November 2021, a total of 30 were killed. Finally, in 2022, it was decided to transfer the animals to the zoo in Poznań.

Accused vet

Among the defendants is veterinarian Witold Z., who had animals under his care. It was he who was supposed to check the health and treat the animals twice a week.

– In the protocols of medical and veterinary inspections, the defendant indicated that the herd’s health was good or very good, which is contradicted by the evidence gathered in the investigation. In the light of the evidence, the defendant approved of the poor living conditions of the animals in the palm house and failed to enforce his medical orders, thus causing the animals to suffer, reports Tkaczyszyn.

– Although in September 2021 he indicated in the protocol that due to the increase in the number of diseases of parrots, it should be assumed that the main reason is poor living conditions, which led to a visible deterioration in the welfare of birds and monkeys, he did not raise any objections to the animal’s health, and did not question the fact that they were moved to rooms that did not meet any species requirements and did not enforce his recommendations – he provides the findings of the investigators.

The prosecutor’s office: they were aware, they did not react

The indictment also covers the municipal gardener and the managers of the palm house. – The defendants allowed the animals to be kept for a long period of time, i.e. for more than two years, in substitute, visible bad conditions that led to their diseases, fights between animals and their death. They did not follow the recommendations of the veterinarian and did not respond to the deteriorating health of the animals, which behavior resulted in inflicting pain and suffering on the said animals, the indictment said.

Henryka Z., a gardener supervising the city palm house, was aware of the bad conditions created. She did not react to the negligence, to the deteriorating health of the animals, and did not report any shortcomings to her superiors.

The prosecutor accused her of failing to fulfill her duties in the field of ongoing supervision over the care of animals and of animal abuse. Two other accused managers and a doctor were also accused by the prosecutor of mistreating animals.

According to reports, the accused persons who were interrogated as suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. All face up to three years in prison.

Main photo source: Google Maps

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