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Bend wildlife rescue co-founders charged with neglect

Each indicted on 22 counts

Wildlife rehab cofounders indicted

BEND, Ore. - A Deschutes County grand jury has indicted the co-founders of a Bend wildlife rehabilitation facility on 19 counts of second-degree animal neglect and three counts of wildlife law violations, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Tuesday.

Janette Bonomo, 42, and Dr. Jeffrey Cooney, 61, are alleged to have failed to provide minimum care for numerous animals in their custody. Animals that received deficient care and were injured as a result include hawks, bald and golden eagles, owls, northern flickers and others -- 18 are listed in Thursday's indictment. Each count covers a period of Aug. 1, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2016.

The deficient care came to light based on an August 2016 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife site visit to the High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Bend, Hummel said.

The inspection was prompted by complaints received by ODFW and local wildlife rehabilitators, including "many" complaints by volunteers at the facility, Hummel said in a news release.

ODFW staff removed the animals and, based on their physical condition, either placed them with other rehabilitators or euthanized them. 

ODFW staff referred the matter to the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division, which conducted a criminal investigation and presented their findings to the DA.

The indictment accuses the pair of failing to provide minimum care

"Oregon is committed to caring for wildlife at a high standard, and we appreciate the level of care ODFW showed these animals and the thoroughness and professionalism of Oregon State Police’s investigation,” Hummel said. "Wildlife crimes will not be brushed under the rug in Oregon.”

Cooney and Bonomo were notified of the charges by letter, the DA's office said. Cooney is scheduled for arraignment on the charges Sept. 12 and Bonomo the next day, according to online court records.


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