Inspectors say a Northern California testing laboratory violated federal law when a rabbit that was presumed dead was discovered alive in a freezer for carcasses.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that staffers at Pacific BioLabs in Hercules had tried to euthanize the animal, one of many used to test pharmaceuticals and medical devices. But U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors found the rabbit wasn't dead when it was put in the freezer.

The agency says it found the breach of the Animal Welfare Act during a routine inspection in August. The newspaper says the rabbit's ultimate fate is unclear.

Inspectors ordered Pacific BioLabs to take steps to prevent a repeat of the rabbit freezing but didn't cite the company.

A representative for the firm declined to comment.