Animal rights activists are calling for the resignation of two city employees, after uncovering documents they say reveal a plan to doctor Lucy the elephant’s health records.
PETA feels an e-mail correspondence obtained through a public records request indicates conspiracy between city staffers.
“… For the next few months, could (Lucy’s veterinarian) do a routine check on a regular basis and simply record: Routine check, Lucy doing well. Or something like that … the (redacted) would have no choice to post her good health along with any treatment information,” city spokeswoman Jan Archibold allegedly wrote to Valley Zoo director Denise Prefontaine on Jan. 23.
City officials are appalled at PETA’s interpretation and allegations, and say they’re standing behind their employees. Linda Cochrane, general manager of community services, said the exchange was simply an effort to post findings of every examination, so records are in greater detail “whether Lucy is doing well or not.”
“They’ve taken an unfortunate interpretation and we don’t agree,” Cochrane said. “I have full confidence in the staff that work at the zoo.”
Despite Cochrane’s assurance Lucy’s health is an open book, PETA officials are skeptical.
“It’s critical everyone involved in this situation be as open as possible, and willing to openly discuss (Lucy’s) situation,” PETA spokeswoman Lisa Wathne said. “These emails from two people at the very top of city government are an indication they are not willing to do that.”
A letter calling for the resignation or termination of Archbold and Prefontaine was sent to the mayor’s office Friday.
A response letter is being drafted, Cochrane said, adding the city isn’t entertaining the request.