The sea lions that got injured due to dumping of chlorine into the filtration system of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach are now recovering well. For those who don’t know: the Pacific Marine Mammal Center works for rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals.
The Laguna Beach Police Department, right now, is looking to get hold of the people or person responsible for putting chlorine in the rehab center’s water filtration system. The police department believes that it was an intentional attack; according to the police, the entire event took place between 8 pm April 27 and 6 am April 28.
Tim Kleiser, the Laguna Beach police sergeant, said that on the morning of Tuesday, April 28, an employee of the organization entered its premises and came across a strong smell resembling the smell of bleach or chlorine. The employee was also the first one to see that the sea lions were out of water; soon after, she felt a burning sensation in her own eyes.
Later, it was found that a saltwater pool of the facility that houses 17 rehabilitated sea lions got contaminated with chlorine. The animals swimming in that particular pool had already recovered, and the rehab center was planning to release them the next day. However, that didn’t happen as the animals got seriously injured by the contaminated water.
Fifteen sea lions got swollen eyes and have been diagnosed with corneal ulcerations of different degrees. Seven are still receiving veterinary treatment. Kleiser informed none of the victims of this incident has been discharged yet.
Jason Kravetz, the Laguna Beach police captain, said that he is struggling to understand why someone would do something like this. He added that it’s a sad incident as these animals don’t have the ability to defend themselves.
Police are checking all possible angles; examples include individuals visiting the rehab center, past employees of the organization, sources of threatening messages and so on.
Every individual with access to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been interviewed by them. They are also reviewing the building’s surveillance footage; however, nothing significant has been found in those videos. Kravetz said that all the injured animals will soon recover fully.