Federal, local officials continue investigation into 11 animals euthanized at Lion's Gate sanctuary

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Elbert County Sheriff’s Office have launched an investigation after 11 lions, tigers and bears were euthanized last month at the Lion’s Gate animal sanctuary.

The 11 animals – six tigers and lions, and five bears – were killed on April 20 after the sanctuary failed to find a place to move the animals amid a spat with the county’s board of commissioners.

“Special Agents from the Service are working closely with investigators from the sheriff’s office to determine whether violations did or did not occur,” a statement from USFWS said.

A USFWS spokesman told the Denver Post that federal agents are working to determine if the sanctuary violated the Endangered Species Act by euthanizing the animals.

Should either agency determine that the owners should face criminal charges, each will work with local and federal prosecutors to determine the charges.

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