FAIRBANKS -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accused the University of Alaska Fairbanks of possible Animal Welfare Act violations in the starvation deaths of 12 musk oxen at its large-animal research station.

USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said Wednesday an administrative judge will decide whether the university will face fines an animal rights group hopes total $10,000 for each animal.

University spokeswoman Marmian Grimes says the school is working on a response to the complaint.

The USDA says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, identify that the musk oxen were losing weight or enlist veterinary treatment. The animals died or were euthanized between Aug. 29, 2010, and Feb. 16, 2011.

The complaint filed in late March follows a request by the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now to investigate the school. The group announced the complaint Wednesday.