Humane Society International/Canada,Friends of HSI, and HSI global —withthegeneroussupportoftheEric S. Margolis Family Foundation —areworkingalongsidetheMontreal SPCA in the seizure of animals from a roadside zoo in St-Édouard-de-Maskinongé, Quebec. The owner of the unaccredited facility, ZoodeSt-Edouard, has been arrested and charged with neglect and cruelty to animals under the Canadian Criminal Code. If convicted, the accused could face a five-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban on having custody or control of any animal.
“We are pleased to play a critical role in getting these deserving animals to safety, with the incredible support of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation. It was disturbing to see this facility. Many of the animals were confined in dark, barren, dilapidated enclosures. Others were living with entirely inadequate shelter with minimal protection from the elements. Some of the animals did not even appear to have access to water or proper food and appeared to be suffering from a variety of medical conditions,” said Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI/Canada in a statement. “Some of the animals were showing signs of significant psychological distress, including compulsive behavior and constant pacing. Notably, dead and ill animals have been removed or seized from this property in recent months. This case underscores the importance of strong animal welfare provisions in Canada’s Criminal Code, particularly as they apply to situations of gross neglect.”
Eric Margolis, Founder of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, said, “Our foundation supports organizations that provide care for abused, neglected and abandoned animals, both wild and domesticated. We will always support the work of organizations like HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI, who defend those who cannot defend themselves.”
HSI/Canada has campaigned for over a decade to achieve meaningful improvements to the animal welfare provisions in Canada’s Criminal Code. One of the primary deficiencies in the Criminal Code is the need for enforcement authorities to prove willfulness on the part of neglectful owners before they are able to lay criminal charges and seize animals. This results in prolonged suffering and can prevent appropriate application of the Criminal Code in situations of neglect.