Former Quebec Zoo Owner Pleads Guilty to Animal Welfare Violations, Avoids Criminal Charges – Montreal


The former owner of a Quebec zoo has pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offenses in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. courthouse Wednesday morning, but will avoid criminal charges.

Normand Trahan pleaded guilty to four offenses under Quebec’s Animal Welfare and Safety Act after the Crown dropped criminal charges against him from 2019.

The Montreal SPCA confirmed the plea in a press release stating that Trahan will face fines of nearly $7,000 and be banned from owning animals for five years unless they are pets kept at home for non-commercial purposes.

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Charges of animal cruelty and neglect were first brought against Trahan, then owner of the Saint-Édouard Zoo, in May 2019 following a criminal investigation by the Investigations Division of the Montreal SPCA. .

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The investigation, which began in August 2018, follows a complaint filed by visitors to the zoo, located about 120 kilometers east of Montreal, in Saint-Édouard-de-Maskinongé.

Animal protection officers, who have powers similar to police officers, obtained a search warrant and descended on the zoo in an attempt to execute the warrant and seize the animals from the zoo.

At the time, Trahan launched an unsuccessful legal challenge to block the seizure.

Eventually, over the course of several weeks, more than 200 wild and exotic animals were removed from the zoo, including lions, tigers, kangaroos, wolves and primates.

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The SPCA said it was successful in obtaining ownership of all the animals and they have since been relocated to “qualified facilities where they receive all the specialized care they require”.

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The Montreal SPCA said it was “satisfied” with Trahan’s “admission of guilt”.

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“The offenses to which Mr. Trahan pleaded guilty relate to the conditions in which the animals were kept at the Saint-Édouard Zoo, including inadequate and unsanitary facilities, as well as the lack of veterinary care for injured or sick animals”, said Chantal Cayer. , Director of the Investigations Division.

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The SPCA also highlighted the important role of animal welfare charities, such as the SPCA, in enforcing animal welfare laws.

“The result obtained in court today demonstrates how essential this work is,” said the Executive Director of the Montreal SPCA, Élise Desaulniers, adding that the organization had accomplished the mission it had set for itself, “to protect the animals at the Saint-Édouard Zoo and ensure their well-being. ”

Trahan’s lawyer, Michel Lebrun, told reporters in Trois-Rivières, Que., on Wednesday that his client was ready to move on.

“I would tell you that Mr. Trahan is relieved and very happy to move on and to be able to consider a peaceful retirement,” he said after the hearing.

The zoo was sold earlier this year.

–With files from Sidhartha Banerjee of The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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