Ontario Zoo to Close Doors After Attendance Drops "Catastrophically"
CTV News recently reported that the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, Canada, has made the decision to close down the controversial facility this coming fall.
The zoo, which first opened its doors in 1919 and is considered to be oldest private zoo in North America, faced outrage from the public after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released footage in December showing owner Michael Hackenberger whipping a tiger.
PETA stated that they initially became suspicious of Hackenberger after he was shown on live TV “angrily cursing an unco-operative baboon that resisted riding a miniature horse.” The organization then sent a member to work undercover at the zoo and the footage was released publicly, which caused attendance to plummet. PETA spokesperson Brittany Peet stated:
“It’s closing around a hundred years too late for the hundreds of animals that suffered there. Any time a zoo closes its doors is time for celebration. None of these people should be in the animal business. It’s time for them all to find other jobs and find better homes for these animals.”
Hackenberger was charged in April by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) with four counts of causing an animal distress and one count of failing to comply with the prescribed standards of animal care. If convicted, Hackenberger faces a maximum fine of $60,000, a two-year prison sentence, and a lifetime ban from owning animals.
The article states that the zoo plans to relocate the animals, a process which may take up to a year to complete. The news comes shortly after the announced closure of the Buenos Aires zoo in Argentina.
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