LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An animal welfare group is calling for the University of California, Irvine to be fined thousands of dollars over the deaths of six research animals.

In a complaint filed this week with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) revealed that it obtained internal correspondence in which UC Irvine admitted to a federal funding agency that four rabbits, a sheep and a pig died because of faulty surgeries or improper care.

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“The correspondence revealed botched surgical procedures, a lack of veterinary care and unqualified staff caused the animal deaths,” SAEN said in a news release.

The deaths occurred between March and August of 2017. The deaths were a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and the documents filed by UC Irvine were never intended to go public, SAEN claims.

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One of the rabbits died after being given a “ketamine/xylazine anesthetic cocktail” according to the documents filed by UC Irvine. Meanwhile, a sheep died following an operation due to internal bleeding that was likely caused by the administration of too much heparin, the school disclosed.

SAEN is demanding the USDA fine the school the maximum allowable penalty under federal law, which is $10,000 per animal, for a total fine of $60,000.

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SAEN is a nonprofit watchdog group which seeks to end the abuse of animals in research laboratories.