Researcher suspended after dolphin moved to pool

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Federal officials have suspended a central Florida dolphin researcher for allegedly putting a sick dolphin in a resort community's swimming pool without permission.

The regional administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service says Steve McCulloch was being suspended for "egregious violations."

McCulloch is the founder and program manager of Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. According to NOAA, McCulloch had been rescuing an ailing bottlenose dolphin Dec. 28 on Vero Beach when he moved the animal to the swimming pool. The dolphin was euthanized later at a veterinary clinic.

The pool had to be drained and decontaminated. NOAA officials say the dolphin should have been moved to an approved pool.

Harbor Branch officials tell Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/1faYJdJ ) that McCulloch is no longer employed at the institute.

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Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com

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