Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick accused Zoo New England of using false and inflammatory scare tactics to draw sympathy to Boston's Franklin Park Zoo after it claimed that budget cuts would force as many as 200 animals to be euthanized.
"As a supporter of the zoo and a parent who has visited often, the governor is disappointed to learn that Zoo New England has responded to this difficult but unavoidable budget cut by spreading inaccurate and incendiary information,’’ Kyle Sullivan, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement, The Boston Globe reported Monday.
Patrick cut state funding for the zoos to $2.5 million, from $6.5 million.
Officials at Zoo New England last week said in a letter to legislators that without more funding they'll have to shut down in October and close its smaller Stone Zoo in Stoneham. They said zoo animals might have to be destroyed because it would likely be impossible to find new homes for all of them.
In a revised statement released Saturday, the zoo said it meant the state would be forced to either care for the animals or euthanize them.
"There will be no consideration given to euthanizing any animals under the state’s watch,’’ said Joe Landolfi, Patrick’s director of communications.
He told the Globe if the zoos were to close, the state would work to find new homes for the animals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.