- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - An Oshkosh zoo followed protocol when it euthanized a male wolf after the animal bit a child late last week, according to a city official.

The wolf “nipped” a child last Friday when the child entered a non-public area of the Menominee Park Zoo and put his or her fingers through a fence, Ray Maurer, the city’s parks director, told Oshkosh Northwestern Media (https://oshko.sh/1Ey41vX ). He declined to disclose the child’s age or gender, citing federal privacy laws.

The child was taken to a local hospital, where he or she received treatment for minor finger injuries.

After the child’s parents declined to get rabies shots for their child, the Division of Public Health mandated authorities kill the wolf so rabies testing could be conducted, Maurer said. A brain sample then was sent to Madison for a rabies test, which came back negative.

Giving anti-rabies prophylaxis to a person who has been bitten by a wild animal or euthanizing the animal generally are the only options in such cases, according to Anne Boyce, environmental health supervisor for the Winnebago County Health Department.

But the decision to euthanize the wolf has upset some of the Menominee Park Zoo’s loyal visitors, including Ronya Dehn of Oshkosh, who has donated money to its wolf exhibit.

“I purposely donate for these wolves, and to me, it’s like taking my donation and throwing it away,” Dehn said. “I felt like my donations went to waste through human error. Everybody makes mistakes, but this was (a lack of) common sense.”

An investigation into the incident and the events leading up to it is ongoing, and it’s too soon to tell if it will result in any repercussions or disciplinary action, Maurer said.

The wolf that died, Rebel, was one of four 12-year-old siblings the zoo received last fall, Maurer said. It’s unlikely that city leaders will replace Rebel, because another wolf wouldn’t be accepted into the pack, he said.


Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, https://www.thenorthwestern.com

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