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Wildlife Waystation Hearing Set Thursday

A hearing is scheduled Thursday for a Newhall Superior Court judge to consider appointing a special master to monitor rule compliance at the Wildlife Waystation, which has come under scrutiny after numerous violations were found at the animal sanctuary.

But a decision may be postponed until next month, a Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokesman said.

Waystation officials agreed last month to have the court appoint a special master to monitor the 120-acre refuge’s progress in correcting violations, including hosing animal waste into nearby creeks and keeping animals in cages that were too small.

Both the district attorney’s office and the wildlife refuge have been compiling a list of nominees to serve as special master, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Miller. He added that he doubts his office will have a final recommendation Thursday.

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“Both sides will probably be asking for another couple of weeks. That might give us time to come up with an agreed nominee or an agreed group of nominees,” Miller said Tuesday.

“We’re looking forward to having someone who will be dealing with the Department of Fish and Game. I think there will be a lot more accountability by all parties,” said Martine Colette, director and founder of the sanctuary.

In a related matter, Fish and Game has presented a list of conditions to the Waystation that would allow the refuge to resume rehabilitation work with small animals and birds.

Those conditions focus on upgrading cages. “They’ve done a lot, but there’s still some to be done,” said Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano. “They are to a point where we felt we’d allow them to begin rehabbing smaller animals on a temporary basis.”

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In April, the Waystation was barred from accepting new animals or giving public tours. A month later, the district attorney’s office asked the court to impose stiffer sanctions on the refuge.


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