LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) -- The animal cruelty trial involving a woman accused of neglecting a sloth that twice burned its face on a heat lamp has begun in Jefferson County.
Ashleigh Belfiore is facing a misdemeanor charge. She's accused of neglecting a sloth and failing to seek proper veterinary care after the animal suffered injuries inside its enclosure at SeaQuest, a mall-based, interactive animal facility and aquarium in Littleton.
Belfiore was responsible for managing mammals and reptiles at the facility in 2018, when the sloth, named "Flash," burned its face twice.
According to Colorado Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks & Wildlife records, the sloth suffered swelling on its nose after burning itself on a heat lamp in October. In November, documents show the sloth was burned more severely on the lamp.
“The second burn caused swelling of the sloth's entire face including around the eyes, nose, the mouth, and the lips. Multiple raw areas and redness were observed on the face with scabbing, sloughing of the skin, and a couple of the wounds were oozing,” according to the CPW case report.
The incident involving the sloth was one of several incidents that pushed CPW to suspend its license for two years. As a result, SeaQuest may not apply for any special license issued by CPW for that period and had to remove various exotic species to other facilities.
According Travis Duncan, a spokesperson for CPW, the facility removed all CPW regulated species as a result of the suspension.
Previous Problem Solvers investigations found other questionable treatment of animals at SeaQuest including reports of filthy tanks an dirty exhibits, which SeaQuest said it later worked to correct.