The University of Akron had the only registered lab statewide in which animals under its care died of negligence last year.
The nonprofit Stop Animal Exploitation Now said the two mouse-like voles in UA’s biology lab were among 230 animals to die of negligence at 46 labs nationwide.
Group founder Michael Budkie said he has filed an official complaint against UA with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the care of animals in registered labs such as those at UA.
That could result in a warning or a penalty of as much as $10,000 from the USDA, he said.
UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey said in a statement that the university reported the death of the voles to the USDA, which resulted in the inspection.
“The individual responsible for the care of these rodents is no longer with the university,” she said. “At any given time, there are hundreds of rodents being cared for in our research labs. We continue to enforce the highest standards of animal care.”
The USDA report noted that UA had taken corrective action to prevent similar accidents from happening again.
Budkie’s watchdog group monitors USDA documentation of 1,000 public and private research labs nationwide, including about 80 in Ohio.
The group learned that 36 primates, six dogs, 10 cats, 22 rabbits and 156 other animals died of negligence last year or that their deaths came to light last year.
The biggest offenders were the University of Northern Colorado, where 45 bats died, and Harvard, where 41 mice died, in both cases for lack of food and water.
In the case of the deaths at UA, the two voles were not observed daily for five days and died of a lack of water.
The only other incident to come to light in Ohio last year was at Ricerca Biosciences in suburban Cleveland, where a dog and a monkey died in November 2010.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3729.