Reston Zoo Director Charged in Wallaby Death

Facility head charged with cruelty to an animal and improper possession of a controlled substance after animal found dead last winter.

Fairfax County Police have charged the director of the with animal cruelty and improper possession of a controlled substance after an investigation into a wallaby's death at the zoo. 

Meghan Mogensen, 26, of Silver Spring, MD, was arrested on Friday, police said.

The investigation into the

Animal Control Officers were alerted in January to a situation at the facility, at 1228 Hunter Mill Road in Vienna, after an employee complained of suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of an adult wallaby.

On Jan. 26, officers opened an investigation relating to allegations of improper treatment of injured animals and improper use of euthanasia drugs. A search warrant was executed on Feb. 16.

According to the search warrant, an employee told a police officer he had put the wallaby (similar to a small kangaroo) in a crate. He later observed the empty crate next to a water spigot with a five gallon bucket of water.

The warrant says the employee jumped into a dumpster and found a trash bag containing the dead wallaby.

The zoo director told police she euthanized the wallaby by injection with a drug called Beauthanasia and the animal was disposed of properly. However, police said earlier the Reston Zoo does not have the training and certification to do that.

Zoo employees could not be reached for comment when police released news of the arrest on Sunday.

The investigation is still ongoing, police said. Animal Control Officers are working jointly with the United States Department of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other entities that ensure proper protocols involving humane animal euthanasia, treatment and practices are used.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail atwww.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

Daniel June 25, 2012 at 05:24 PM
The bucket is immaterial, the animal was dead, you are naive if you think zoos use coffins and have ceremonies. She did the humane thing by giving the injection. Had she let the animal suffer, she would NOT have been arrested. I doubt she regrets giving the injection.
Raul June 25, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Sorry Uncle Smartypants Meghan is infact married.
Uncle Smartypants June 25, 2012 at 08:12 PM
So are half the people on match!
Stephanie June 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Zoos have policys in place for a reason. A vet should have been notified immediately. If there were no vets available the zoo should not be in business. Most instittutions have at least one vet on grounds. Even a small zoo should have a et available for situations like this. Vets are certified for a reason and just she hould not have been able to make the call of a vet. If the animal was suffering so much that she needed to drown it in a bucket rather than seeking vet help why did the keeper that found the wallaby go to lunch rather than stay with the animal? The fact that the wallaby was wet makes it so obvious to me that it was drowned rather than injected. Why would anyone wash an animal after being euthanized just to throw it in a dumpster?? They wouldn't!
Dena Ellison July 10, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Unfortunately, animals do not always die right away when administered those injections, even when adminstered correctly. Ask any vet. And it is not always a pretty death.


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