published Thursday, January 27th, 2011

UT says zoo chief nixes releases of necropsy reports

Chattanooga Zoo Director Darde Long told a state official not to release the necropsies of the seven animals that died at the zoo in December and January, said the official, a spokeswoman for the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Sandra Harbison, the spokeswoman, said the forensic cause-of-death analyses are governed under the Tennessee Veterinary Practices Act, which she described as the animal equivalent of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HIPAA was designed to protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information for humans.

Harbison said the veterinary version of the privacy act protects "the client," and the client is the Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park.

Long did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Robin Derryberry, spokeswoman for the zoo and a board member of the Friends of the Zoo, the organization that oversees the zoo, insists the reports will be released.

"As soon as the zoo receives the final necropsy reports, copies will be sent to you," Derryberry said. "The zoo has not received the final reports, only initial information at this point. As promised, the media will receive the complete reports as soon as the zoo receives them."

Harbison said the UT vet school's turnaround time for final report necropsies is several weeks.

"Our target is four to six weeks to have a final report out," she said. "Of course, some take months."

The preliminary report on Hank the chimp, who was found dead early Monday morning, indicates the 42-year-old ape suffered heart trouble, according to a Tuesday interview with Long and Mickey Myers, a veterinarian and board member of the Friends of the Zoo.

Myers said the preliminary results from the necropsies of two marmosets showed a hepatitis virus carried by mice. Four other zoo animals have died in recent weeks.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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Its cruel to cage an animal. Let them stay where they belong and prefer to be. To cage them for the purpose of generating money so the public can view is just not right. We treat critters so bad. What did they do to deserve being locked up for life? ( I speak for the animals....because they cant)

January 27, 2011 at 11:22 a.m.
Uhave2bkidding said...

Does anybody else find it interesting that the director requested the reports not be released until after the zoo has seen them first? I smell a cover up going on. If they weren't concerned about anything why not let everybody see them at the same time? Am I right?

January 27, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

I think the Zoo management is trying to cover up the deaths of animals at the zoo...These thugs are abusing these animals and thats why an employee got fired other day for speaking out about the conditions of the Zoo. I usually take my son at least once a yr to the zoo but no more..These People in charge of this Zoo needs to be in Prison for their shady dealing and for mistreating and killing of the zoo animals.They have a spokesman Karen Walsh who lies to media to make Zoo look good..THis woman is the one who needs to be fired!

January 27, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
USAthebestJESUS said...

if people down at the zoo are having sex with animals, then we have the constitutional right to the necropsy reports! patriots who honor the consitution and love gorillas need to stand up and demand justice!

January 27, 2011 at 5:52 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Hey JESUS, do a google search and find the difference between necropsy and necrophilia.

Most people "who honor the consitution" and "demand justice!" know the difference.

Geez.

January 27, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.
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