The Rotary Nature Center on Lake Merritt is no longer home to 13 rescue animals after they had to be rescued themselves from mistreatment, a source told NBC Bay Area.
The animals were in terrible shape, the source said, but the former supervisor, Stephanie Benavidez, swears she's done nothing wrong.
One source said the animals were starving, some forced into cramped spaces, sitting in their own feces. They also said the center has been the focus of at least two previous investigations.
Peter Takeuchi, of Oakland, is a frequent visitor to the center with his grandchildren. He said he's not surprised.
Benavidez, who is under investigation by Animal Control authorities, said she would never mistreat the animals at the center where she's worked for more than 40 years.
"I love my animals, and my animals are taken care of," she said. "I put my life on that."
A city spokesperson confirmed the investigation and said personnel issues are being addressed. The spokesperson said they are looking at reprogramming the facility to make it more accessible to the public.
(NBC Bay Area - May 3, 2017)