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Zoo Owner Faces Cruelty Charges Over Mistreating Lions, Zebras

A zoo owner is facing charges of animal cruelty for neglecting over 100 animals in his care including lions, tigers, zebras, bears and wolves.

The Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) led the investigation of Édouard Zoo in Mauricie province, after visitors reported animals being mistreated.

The SPCA, in partnership with Humane Society International (HSI), raided the zoo property and found many of the animals were living in appalling conditions.

"It was disturbing to see this facility," Rebecca Aldworth from HSI Canada said.

"Many of the animals were confined in dark, barren, dilapidated enclosures. Others were living with entirely inadequate shelter with minimal protection from the elements."

Source: Humane Society International.

Some of the animals did not appear to have access to water or food, and were suffering from a variety of medical conditions.

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Aldworth also noted some animals were showing significant psychological distress, compulsively pacing the length of their cages.

SPCA reported they found four dead animals on an initial visit to the site in 2018, including two tigers.

Source: Humane Society International.

The HSI said the zoo had a long history of warnings and charges from the provincial government, but the business has now been shut down.

Sophie Gaillard, director of animal advocacy at SPCA, said the charges laid against the zoo's owner are a first in Quebec's history, because he has been charged by way of indictment and could now face harsh criminal penalties.

All of the zoo's animals are currently being assessed by a veterinarian and will begin to be transported to new housing facilities for specialised care.