Wildlife sanctuary denies claims of animal abuse by USDA


OROVILLE, Calif. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has outlined numerous allegations of animal abuse against the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary in Oroville.

The USDA came up with a list of items that needed correcting, including not providing animals with proper veterinarian care and clean drinking water. The report also claims there were food items with mold.

Kirshner discounts these complaints. "They don't realize we take in animals with special needs; it's like a nursing home," said Roberta Kirshner, the sanctuary's executive director. "We're the last stop for many of these animals."

The USDA's investigation stems from a February report by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals which spoke with former volunteers about the sanctuary.

Kirshner said she's concerned about the influence of PETA, which she described as a radical animal rights group.

"Years ago they were very respected, but they've gotten out of control," Kirshner said. "It's a little bit frightening for us." Kirshner said she's already preparing for a follow-up inspection from the USDA, saying she intends to educate its investigators on the challenges that come from caring for wildlife that oftentimes is neglected before they arrive at her sanctuary.