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Six moments in the year's animal welfare hall of shame

December 23, 2011 |  1:35 pm

Despite an increasing sensitivity to the welfare of animals, there were some woeful slip-ups in human behavior toward creatures, domestic and exotic, this year. 

There was the Ohio man, for example, who set free his 56 wild animals and then committed suicide, which set in motion a tragic set of circumstances that led law enforcement officials to kill 49 of those animals.

A former postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo also made the list. She was found guilty of attempting to poison cats in her northwest Washington neighborhood.

And a veterinary technician at Los Angeles’ West Valley animal shelter was fired after it was discovered that he failed to properly sedate dogs he was trying to euthanize, inserting needles into the animals’ jugular veins -- which is not permitted -- and bringing dogs into a room with other dead animals before killing them.

Here's a photo gallery that rounds up more incidents, along with suggestions on how to avoid making this list next year.

Elephants, sadly, are included twice.


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--Carla Hall

Photo: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus artists and elephants perform in New York. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand / Getty Images

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