UPDATE on the Bowmanville Investigation
Newmarket, ON (December 23, 2015) – The Ontario SPCA recently received a video from the Animal Rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) where it appeared a tiger was allegedly being whipped repeatedly by its trainer. An investigation into the matter started immediately.
Our first priority when a report of animal cruelty is presented to us is always the animals involved. We always want to ensure the animals are getting the care they require, as outlined under the Ontario SPCA Act. The Ontario SPCA sent our officers, specializing in exotic animals, to the Bowmanville Zoo where they examined the tigers. No animals were removed at that time.
The Ontario SPCA has the authority to remove an animal if/when the following situations have occurred:
1. An animal is in immediate distress. In this situation our officers did not find the tigers to be in immediate distress, as defined by the Ontario SPCA Act.
2. A veterinarian has recommended the removal of the animal to ensure the animal gets the care it requires.
3. Ontario SPCA Act Orders have been issued but were not complied with.
Our visit revealed that at this time we do not have the authority to remove the animals from their location. Although the animals were not removed, we want to reassure the public that the Society will be making sure that the animals are getting the care they require while this investigation is ongoing.
As part of our investigation process we will be conducting formal interviews with all the persons involved in this situation and will continue to monitor the care of the animals involved in the investigation.
The Society will keep the public updated as we have more information to share.
As this is an ongoing investigation, to protect its integrity, no further information can be shared about this case, at this time.
To clarify our authority, the Ontario SPCA Act allows the Society to investigate reports of animal cruelty. This legislation does not grant the Society jurisdiction over the operations of a zoo. Although the Society can address the care of the animals and any concerns for those animals, we do not have the authority to shut down the operations of a zoo. It is only a judge that can ban a person from owning an animal. This includes exotic animals in zoos.
Director, Marketing & Communications
Ontario SPCA, Provincial Office
Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:
Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 communities.
Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.
Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
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