OKLAHOMA CITY - An animal rights group wants the University of Oklahoma to pay a hefty fine for their treatment of dogs at a research lab.
"Stop Animal Exploitation Now" (SAEN) is outraged at a USDA inspection report from August that indicates OU researchers were using a 9-volt battery applied to the dogs' hearts to euthanize them at the OU Health Sciences Center.
The report also says OUHSC did not use an approved anesthesia on the dogs during research.
However, the director of OU's Comparative Medicine division, Gary White, told us none of the dogs were ever in pain while being euthanized, and indicated OU is no longer using the 9-volt batteries to euthanize research dogs.
He said the dogs are hounds, which come from out-of-state facilities that are licensed by the USDA, and are specifically raised for use in research.
Still, SAEN wants the USDA to launch a full investigation.
"What this says to me is that their administration is not sufficiently monitoring what their research staff is doing," SAEN Executive Director Michael Budkie said Tuesday at a press conference in Oklahoma City. "And if it happened once, what's going to stop it from happening again?"
Budkie said the dogs used in research may have been former family companion dogs.
The OU Health Sciences Center responded with a statement, saying "On a recent USDA inspection, they stated a preference for a different protocol which involves the injection of an anesthetic, which the OUHSC has adopted. The USDA did cite OU for two cases where a different anesthetic was used. The University has directed that great care should be taken to ensure that all future injections are appropriate."
Budkie wants the USDA to fine OUHSC at the maximum level - $10,000 per infraction.
White said in a statement that all future injections on research dogs will be appropriate.