Barbiturate Source Confirmed in Animal Ark Deaths - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Barbiturate Source Confirmed in Animal Ark Deaths

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A toxicology report confirms two animals at Animal Ark died from contaminated meat product purchased by Triple A Brand Meat Company, a USDA certified company based in Burlington, Colorado.

A three-year-old wolf named Maddie died last month along with a 21-year-old Asian tiger named Shere Khan. 

Toxicology reports previously confirmed that the drugs Pentobarbital and Phenytoin, which are commonly included in euthanasia solutions, were found in both the stomach contents of Maddie, and in urinalysis of a sickened cheetah named Jamar. Jamar has since made a full recovery.

"Animal Ark feeds its carnivores meat products from various suppliers across the nation," said Diana Hiibel, Animal Ark co-founder and programs manager. "Our sanctuary trusts these sources and has been receiving meat products from these sources for more than 20 years."

Hiibel said Triple A has issued a recall of the product, and voluntarily agreed to cover Animal Ark's expenses relating to the deaths. "No value can be placed on the lives of Maddie and Shere Khan who we lost. They were a treasured part of our Animal Ark family. The reimbursement for the costs incurred related to veterinary care, food that was destroyed and the extensive lab testing will help Animal Ark tremendously as we look to recover from this tragedy."

According to Triple A, the company purchases its products from wholesalers who are certified and reputable. Those wholesalers in turn purchase meat from private parties. An investigation to find the source of the meat containing the barbiturates is ongoing.

"All of us in the Triple A Brand Meat Company family are devastated by the recent events that took place with Animal Ark," said Amanda Thew, Triple A Brand Meat Company partner. "We are a small, family owned and operated business that prides itself on years of providing safe, nutritious, and affordable products to all of our customers. While we know we can never replace the ambassadors that were lost, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that this never happens again. We will not be offering this product until we can guarantee its safety."

Animal Ark, located at 1265 Deerlodge Rd, opens for the season on March 28.

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