updated 5/29/2005 10:28:34 PM ET 2005-05-30T02:28:34

A seven-month federal investigation has concluded that a state university mistreated research animals, and the school has agreed to pay an $11,400 fine to settle the case.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the University of Nevada, Reno, for 46 federal animal welfare violations between May 2004 and March 2005.

Violations included repeatedly leaving 10 research pigs with inadequate water and housing, poor sanitation at animal care facilities, lack of veterinary care, and failure to investigate complaints of animal neglect.

School officials agreed to pay the fine Friday but said they disagree with some of the agency’s findings.

University President John Lilley said in a statement that the school has addressed the USDA’s concerns and is “firmly committed to the appropriate treatment of animals under our care.”

The investigation began shortly after associate professor Hussein S. Hussein, an internationally known animal nutrition researcher, alleged abuse of research animals in complaints to the USDA last summer.

The Reno Gazette-Journal later reported that 38 pregnant sheep died in October 2002 while they were inside a locked gate without food or water for three days.

Hussein has filed two lawsuits in federal court against the university, Lilley and other administrators accusing them of reprisals and trying to fire him since he complained. Both lawsuits are pending.

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