Group: LA Zoo was fined in elephant's death

July 21, 2009 1:15:52 PM PDT
An animal rights group says the Los Angeles Zoo was fined $3,281 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for failing to provide adequate veterinary care in the 2006 death of Gita the elephant.Catherine Doyle, campaign director for In Defense of Animals, says she learned of the fine Friday, and described it as a "slap on the wrist" for the zoo. She says a letter from the agency indicated the penalty was issued sometime in 2008.

Gita died June 10, 2006, with a necropsy determining she suffered a cardiac failure associated with blood clots blocking the right chamber and major vessels of her heart.

A zoo investigation determined that Gita's keepers didn't begin emergency procedures for more than eight hours after the 8,000-pound female was first observed sitting with her back legs tucked under her, a general sign of distress in elephants.