Controversial Dallas Zookeeper Resigns

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 7:29 PM CDT
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Say Hello To Primate Zoo Babies

Kamba, an elephant Doug Terranova owned, was hit by a sport utility vehicle in Oklahoma after escaping from a traveling circus in November 2009.

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Controversial Zookeeper Resigns

Doug Terranova, the Dallas zookeeper facing a government complaint about alleged past mistreatment of elephants has resigned from his city job.

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The former owner of a couple of Dallas Zoo elephants is facing possible fines in a federal hearing after accusations he mishandled the animals in the past.
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A Dallas zookeeper facing a U.S. government complaint about alleged past mistreatment of elephants has resigned from his city job.

Doug Terranova said Thursday that he reached the agreement to leave with Executive Zoo Director Greg Hudson after reports about his case attracted negative publicity.

In 2010, the zoo purchased two elephants from Terranova and he began working at the zoo to contribute to their care.

In February, NBCDFW reported on the federal case accusing Terranova of mistreating those elephants and other animals in the past, which he denies.

Terranova has worked in circuses and as an animal trainer for television and movies.

In February Hudson expressed support for Terranova and said that strict standards at the zoo would insure proper treatment of the animals.

But Terranova said Thursday that publicity bout his case had become a distraction for the zoo and that members of the Zoo Society board were asking questions.

“If it hurts their ability to raise money to care for the elephants, that is not good,” Terranova said.

Here is the official statement from the Dallas Zoo:

"Typically, the Dallas Zoo does not comment on personnel issues, but Mr. Terranova asked us to relay that he believes that Congo and Kamba are healthy and thriving in their new habitat and have successfully transitioned to their new home. That, coupled with the fact that he is very distracted with some issues in his business and personal life, made now a good time for him to resign and focus on his business and personal issues. He stated that he did not want his personal and business issues to be a distraction to the Zoo."

A hearing on the federal complaint began last month and will continue in the near future.

Terranova said a final ruling in the U.S. Department of Agriculture case may come this fall.

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