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Topeka Will Pay $45,000 Penalty for Zoo Complaint

Elephant Topeka-Zoo SKOne of two elephants at the Topeka Zoo. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The city of Topeka will pay a $45,000 penalty to settle a federal complaint over rules violations at the city's zoo. The city council voted Tuesday to settle the complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2011. The USDA alleged 51 rules violations at the zoo dating from 2006. Shelly Starr, of the city attorney's office, said the civil penalties were based on violations resulting in nine animal deaths. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that zoo director Brendan Wiley says he's happy the matter is resolved so the zoo can move into a new era. Wiley became director after the USDA criticized it for the numerous animal deaths, its professional accreditation was tabled and most of its management left or were fired. The zoo has regained full accreditation.

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