Lowry Park CEO Lex Salisbury resigns, wife gets in trouble and some bad news

Lowry Park Zoo CEO Lex Salisbury has resigned amid allegations of improper business dealings between the zoo and his for profit venture Safari Wild.

The decision probably came as board members were ready to fire Salisbury. He led the zoo for over 21 years. Normally, that might qualify you for a severance package? But probably not in this case, board members say.

From TBO:

"We believe this is a necessary step toward restoring confidence and integrity in zoo management," [Board chair Bob] Merritt said. "Mr. Salisbury played a pivotal role in building Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo into one of the best zoological parks of its size in the nation and he leaves us with that legacy."

Lex was not the only one in the Salisbury family to have a bad day. Animal control officers cited his wife, Elena Louise Sheppa, for "improper confinement of animals" and no tags after she left her family's two dogs in a car while Salisbury was meeting with the zoo board.

Elena Louise Sheppa received four citations after an animal control officer approached her as she was returning to the SUV, which was parked near the site of the special board meeting.

"Our officer asked her directly, 'Would you leave your child in a car with the windows cracked,' " said Marti Ryan, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services. "Her excuse was she was on her way to a doctor's appointment."

Read the whole story here.

Now for the bad news: Remember those patas monkeys that escaped from Salisbury's Polk County animal ranch that led the press and Tampa officials to Salisbury's misconduct? Well, a state trapper caught the last of the monkeys today and the St. Pete Times says one of the monkeys was dead, apparently shot.

Reporters, zoo board members and Mayor Pam Iorio all owe a debt to those monkeys for bringing this saga to light.

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