Mar 23, 2010 7:50 PM by Susan Montoya Bryan
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A beloved Rio Grande Zoo giraffe was dismembered and placed in a trash bin following its death, and an outraged mayor of Albuquerque has ordered an investigation into it.
Mayor Richard Berry said through a spokesman Tuesday that he will take appropriate action when he finds out who is responsible. He has ordered a report on the incident to be done by Friday morning.
"This is nothing short of outrageous and the mayor has expressed that very publicly. This is unacceptable behavior from a city employee," said mayoral spokesman Chris Ramirez.
The giraffe, Kashka, had suffered a debilitating leg injury after a recent fall. Zoo officials said attempts to treat her condition would not likely be successful, so veterinarians decided last week to euthanize the 16-year-old giraffe that stood 15 feet tall and weighed about 2,000 pounds.
Kashka was born at the Miami Metro Zoo on Jan. 3, 1994. She arrived at the Rio Grande Zoo later that year and went on to have six calves over the years.
"She was a good mother and we're very, very sad and we're embarrassed and upset," said Betty Rivera, the director of the city's cultural services department, which oversees the zoo.
Instead of following protocol and taking the giraffe to the landfill, a zoo worker put the dismembered giraffe carcass in a bin near the zoo last Thursday. A garbage truck driver spotted the remains the next day and reported it to his supervisor.