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Reston Zoo Director's Appeal Date Postponed

Fairfax County Circuit Court hearing for Reston Zoo director Meghan Mogensen, who was found guilty of animal cruelty and drug possession in September, continued until February.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court hearing for the Reston Zoo director charged with animal cruelty and drug possession has been postponed until Feb. 19, 2013.

Meghan Mogensen was found guilty on both charges in county General District Court in September. She was scheduled to appear in Circuit Court on Thursday.

The charges stem from an incident in January, in which an injured wallaby at the petting zoo was euthanized. Mogensen maintains she humanely put the animal down with a lethal injection.

However, a disgruntled zoo employee called authorities after she says Mogensen, whose father is the zoo's owner, drowned the animal in a bucket and threw his body in a dumpster.

After a one-day bench trial in which nearly two dozen veterinary and forensic experts were called to testify, Judge Ian O'Flaherty sentenced Mogensen, 27, to a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail on the animal cruelty charge and a $250 fine and suspension of her driver's license for six months on the drug count. Both of the charges are misdemeanors.

Experts said they were unsure how exactly the wallaby, named Parmesan, died. But they found no evidence of a drug injection, and the zoo was not authorized to possess the Ketamine found on the premises anyway.

Because Mogensen and her attorney Caleb Kershner are appealing the verdict, the case now moves to Circuit Court.

To read all stories related to this case, click here.

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Just Curious November 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Exactly how does this work, is she out on bond until Febuary? This seems to be a bit extreme. Is her drivers license suspension on hold as well while the appeal lingers? Why such a long continuance? Shouldn't her lawyer have been prepared during the first trial?
Karen Goff November 15, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Those are all good questions. Yes, she is out pending the appeal. Not sure about the driver's license.
Florence Frey November 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
WHY does the Reston Zoo use a vet who lives in Frederick Co. MD, who just happens to be a friend of her father? There are plenty of competent vets in Reston and nearby towns! Favoritism and greed seem to trump proper care of these animals. One of her excuses in "disposing" the wallaby is that it would take the vet too long to arrive! Mogensen should be banned from ever being allowed to care for animals again. There should be a national list of convicted animal abusers, just as there are for convicted sex abusers! That way we could keep an eye on those we know or who live in our neighborhood. Most of us have had personal experience with abused animals, yet we don't know the story behind the abuse. Animal abuse and homelessness will never end unless we all take personal responsibility to do what is right to protect the helpless animals.

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