Rockland County zookeeper fired after rescuing bears from illegal breeders

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A zookeeper who rescued two bear cubs from illegal breeders and brought them to the Trailside Zoo at Bear Mountain has been fired.

Jen Verstrate was employed as head zookeeper for 14 years. She contends that she lost her job because she didn?t get permission to bring in the cubs. However, she says the zoo knew the animals were coming. Verstrate and another zoo worker took vacation time in July to pick up the cubs in Kansas. She was suspended shortly after that. Verstrate says she acquired at least three dozen animals for the zoo before the cubs and never had to get permission.

Verstrate is now working at Valley Cottage Animal Hospital helping vets care for animals.

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