Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary has been cited with an official U.S. Department of Agriculture Warning for violating federal requirements for the veterinary care of their animals.
The nonprofit primate sanctuary located in Gainesville, FL, has been under state and federal scrutiny as numerous former employees and volunteers spoke out about the harsh conditions the monkeys and staff face under Director Kari Bagnall.
The USDA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission inspected Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary (JFPS) in late July after receiving numerous complaints along with photos and videos of filthy enclosures with maggots crawling in them.
Both agencies found numerous issues at the facility but the USDA reported the most serious issue; a direct violation of the Animal Welfare Act requirements for veterinary care.
The sanctuary employs an attending veterinarian and a consulting veterinarian and the two have “limited to no communication,” according to the report. The inspectors found a controlled substance prescription for one of the monkeys that was prescribed by the consulting veterinarian. Neither Bagnall nor the attending veterinarian were aware the drug had been prescribed.
“After further discussions with the animal care staff, there was no clear guidance as to when employees should contact the attending veterinarian or the consulting veterinarian for veterinary care concerns,” according to the USDA inspection report.
Failing to ensure the attending veterinarian has appropriate authority over the veterinary care at the facility “can lead to unnecessary pain and suffering of the animals,” the inspector said in the report.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has now sent JFPS an Official Warning for the violation.
“If APHIS obtains evidence of any future violation of these federal regulations, APHIS may pursue civil penalties, criminal prosecution, or other sanctions,” according to the Official Warning.
Former JFPS staff members said that Bagnall and the attending veterinarian at the facility do not follow through with the medical care needs of the primates.
More than 250 primates at the sanctuary are cared for by only seven staff members. The staff shortages are reportedly caused by Bagnall who intimidates and verbally harasses the severely overworked staff.
Some staff live on site and in winter the on site employees are required to wake up every four hours and conduct unpaid night inspections of the heat lamps on the monkey enclosures to ensure the animals don’t freeze to death.
Former staff said two capuchin monkeys froze to death at the sanctuary in 2018.
In October 2021, the Facebook page Primates over Profits posted that a monkey named Murphy Brown was experiencing complications after being sedated for a medical procedure at JFPS and rather than taking Murphy Brown to an emergency veterinarian, the primate was instead taken to Bagnall’s home.
“At some point she began having seizures,” according to the Facebook post. “It is unclear what medical care was given to her … instead she remained at [Bagnall’s] home and passed away.”
Murphy Brown is one of 28 primates to pass away at JFPS in the past 15 months, according to the post.
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary Official Warning: