Chef Dany Pena tried to save the young animal. He scooped its body out of the trashcan where it had been left to die, and rushed it to Native Animal Rescue.
Despite efforts to save it, the young female opossum expired shortly thereafter.
Its body was transferred to the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter where authorities began an investigation into the allegations of animal cruelty.
News of this horrific act spread like wildfire, from Los Angeles to New York to London, with some discrepancies...
Some headlines stated the owners of the establishment had ordered the dousing, but Dany had reported he was told by employees that a relative of one of the co-owners had ordered killing.
Understandably, the owners of the restaurant were quick to deny any involvement, but they went further... a lot further - accusing Dany of being a disgruntled employee using the false opossum story to extort money.
Well, those disparaging claims went down like a fast sinking ship on Thursday when Santa Cruz police arrested the former assistant manager, Alan Rockwood, and charged him with one count of animal cruelty.
UPDATE: Dany Pena quit his job over the opossum incident. He's struggling to get back on his feet, financially. You can help through his donation drive, HERE.
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Alan will surely think twice before harming another animal - or at least that's what I want to believe,... and instead of anger towards him, I encourage empathy... Let's teach him the wonders of the natural world and wildlife. Let's help him regain a connection to nature.
Children are born with a natural fascination with animals and nature, bugs and salamanders, wind and wild horses, but sadly, many young people are growing up without anyone to guide them - to keep them interested in and connected with the natural world.
In this age where toddlers are kept occupied and quiet with computer games, it's easy to imagine children developing a disconnect from animals and nature, and maybe even people.
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