General Crime

Owner at South Beach Pizza Company in Santa Cruz allegedly ordered an employee to kill a baby opossum with bleach


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The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is investigating claims that a pizza restaurant owner ordered an employee to kill a baby opossum on Saturday, according to Rebecca Dmytryk of Wildlife Emergency Service. Dany Pena, 35, of Santa Cruz was formerly head chef at South Beach Pizza Company in Santa Cruz.

He says he came into work Saturday, and found two employees standing next to a garbage can with the baby opossum inside. The employees had been told to kill the animal by pouring bleach on it, according to Pena. “I immediately freaked out,” Pena said. “It was a baby, and the sweetest looking guy on the planet.” Pena said he tried to wash the animal off, but when it did not appear to help, he drove it to a nearby wild animal rescue center, where it died an hour later.

Pena also quit his job before driving the animal to the rescue center. “The lack of remorse they had about this act of cruelty led me to quit. None of God’s creatures should be treated in this manner,” Pena said. South Beach Pizza Company representatives have not returned calls requesting comment on this incident.

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