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Animals at Southern Ontario petting zoo killed and injured

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Donna Fernandes

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-905723.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Niagara Regional Police are investigating the deaths of some small animals inside a petting zoo in St. Catharines, Ontario. It happened earlier this week at the Happy Rolph Bird Sanctuary and Petting Zoo. Park workers made the grim discover early Tuesday morning. Police say they believe two suspects fired pellets and BBs from air guns.

A rabbit was among four animals killed at the petting zoo in St. Catharine's. Several others were wounded. Buffalo Zoo president Donna Fernandes is a passionate caregiver of animals. She says it is difficult to imagine anyone being so cruel to animals.

"It's unimaginable that people would do this," Fernandes said.

Fernades noted these are heartbreaking incidents for those who work at zoos. Other zoos in the US have experienced break-ins and vandalism. However, in the US security regulations are in place to protect the animals.

"We have regulations in the US requiring fencing and other security measures," she said.

Last month the Buffalo Zoo opened its new Delta Sonic Heritage Farm that replaced the former Children's petting zoo. Fernades says the new children's zoo also provides secure areas between the animals and public.

"Whenever we allow the public to have physical contact with the animals, we always have a staff member present," she said.

Fernades says the Zoo is always worried about the best interest of its animals and making sure they have a safe experience with the public.