Meghan Mogensen of Silver Spring, Md was found guilty on Friday of animal cruelty in a Fairfax County courtroom and sentenced to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and suspension of her driver’s license for possessing a controlled substance.
During the one-day trial, Mogensen, 26 who was the zoo director at the Fairfax County 30 acre “family friendly” zoo, was convicted of drowning an injured wallaby in a bucket in January of this year. Mogensen told authorities she humanely euthanized the suffering animal with an approved anesthetic.
A necropsy revealed the wallaby’s death was consistent with drowning and that there was no indication of any anesthetic used to humanely euthanize the animal. Authorities discovered a controlled substance animal anesthetic ketamine in Mogensen’s office, however she (Mogensen) did not have the proper permit or training to legally use the drug.
According to The Washington Post, Ashley Rood, a former employee testified that the young wallaby named Parmesan had accidentally hurt his eye. While he was placed in a separate section, Parmesan injured his eye again; this time puncturing his eyeball. Rood called upon Mogensen to have a veterinarian treat the animal. Instead when Rood returned from an errand, she found the wallaby’s dead, wet body in a trash bag in the nearby dumpster. Horrified, Rood faced Mogensen with the facts and called authorities.
Parma wallabies are related to kangaroos and are classified as marsupials because they carry their young in pouches. Indigenous to South Wales, the animals were believed to be extinct until 1965 when they were rediscovered in New Zealand. The species has continued to multiply although they are now classified as “near threatened.”
An investigation of the Reston Zoo’s lack of possessing a veterinary program for the prevention of injury and disease was revealed by a WUSA9.com report from the United States Division of Agriculture in February 2012 citing the zoo for several violations, including the lack of veterinary treatment for a spider monkey who had suffered from frostbitten extremities.
The report continued with complaints of eye and skin infections of zoo animals as well as lameness, stillborn animals, and other medical issues.
The Reston Zoo located at 1228 Hunter Mill Road, the Virginia Safari Park and the Gulf Breeze Zoo are owned by Meghan’s father Eric Mogensen.
Mogensen’s defense attorney states that she will appeal Friday’s decision.
Rest in peace Parmesan.
If you would like to continue receiving the latest news on pet issues and how we can help those who cannot speak, please click the “Subscribe” icon.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook by clicking here. Please visit and “like” my page. You are welcome to submit story ideas by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.