Wayne State University’s Inhumane Dog Experiments: Queenie’s Story
PCRM obtained shelter and veterinary records through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act for Queenie, a Dalmatian mix who was used in one of the experiments conducted by Donal O’Leary, Ph.D. These records show that Queenie suffered immensely at the hands of O’Leary and his staff at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Queenie was found stray in early 2009 by residents of Gratiot County, Mich., who kept her for weeks before surrendering her to the Gratiot County Animal Shelter on June 15, 2009. After 10 days at the shelter, she was transferred to R&R esearch a class B “random source” animal dealer.
Queenie was sold to Wayne State University, and veterinary staff noted that she was “curious, gentle, [and] friendly” when she arrived on Sept. 16, 2009. Lab personnel renamed her “Lafayette,” and she was assigned to the experiment “Integrative Cardiovascular Control During Exercise in Hypertension.” She began treadmill training on Sept. 23, when she was noted to be “distressed.”
Queenie remained “spooky” during her presurgery treadmill training, even jumping off the treadmill when one of the experimenters entered the room. She had to be given a bath on Oct. 15 because she had “fecal material all down [her] left side.” Her training continued until Dec. 1, when she had a left thoracotomy—a major surgery in which her chest was opened to implant devices in her heart.
After surgery, Queenie had to wear a jacket, t-shirt, and cervical collar so she would not pull at her stitches or at the foreign objects now in her body. Her face and paws were swollen, she was “whining [and] vocalizing a bit,” and she vomited immediately after being placed in her cage. By Dec. 8, she was back on the treadmill.
As Queenie healed from her first surgery, she experienced irritation, scabbing, leaking fluids, and other ill effects. She seemed “agitated,” “intent on cleaning feces from [her] rear,” and was “whining for attention.” On Dec. 15, she underwent another procedure—this time, experimenters placed catheters in Queenie’s neck and behind her abdomen.
Queenie’s recovery was more difficult after the second experiment. The next morning, Queenie was found lying on her floor and “reluctant to get up out of [her] cage,” vocalizing when laboratory technicians tried to assist her out of the cage. Queenie did not want to move, and lab technicians placed a muzzle on her to stop her from making noise and attempting to nip.
Queenie’s incisions constantly seeped large amounts of fluids. After relentless licking, sores appeared on her paws and right hip. She was forced to wear an even larger Elizabethan collar to stop her from further aggravating the sores.
Queenie was forced to run on the treadmill again. Initially, the experimental devices were not turned on so she could serve as her own experimental control. When the devices were later turned on, constant problems with the devices’ electronic signals occurred, which prevented the experimenters from collecting data. Still, according to her veterinary records, Queenie was forced to run on the treadmill, and experimenters gathered data when they could, dodging bites from this once-friendly dog and frequently stopping the experiment to clean up feces.
By March 2010, Queenie was hypertensive. In April, she was noted by one lab technician to be “acting very timid – like she can’t get [up]…shakes while getting up (back legs)… won’t get up for me.” That same day, she underwent treadmill experiments again. Two days later, Queenie’s leg became caught in the treadmill and she stumbled. For the next two weeks, Queenie was seen “tip-toeing” and limping, but she was still forced to run.
Queenie was used until June 2010, when experimenters accidentally cracked one of the devices implanted in her while “packing up probes” after a treadmill training session. They attempted to fix the device, but it broke again, retracting into Queenie’s body. On June 29, 2010, more than one year after she arrived at the Gratiot County Animal Shelter and more than nine months after she arrived at O’Leary’s laboratory, Queenie was killed.
Queenie was just one of the hundreds of dogs used in O’Leary’s experiments at Wayne State University.