More than 100 exotic animals at a roadside zoo in Canada are to be rescued by Humane Society International (HSI) and the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation - who are working alongside the Montreal SPCA in the seizure of animals from St-Édouard-de-Maskinongé in Quebec.
The owner of the unaccredited facility has been arrested and accused of neglect and cruelty to animals under the Canadian Criminal Code.
If found guilty, the defendant could serve up to five years in prison and face 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," said Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International/Canada.
'It was disturbing to see'
"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. Some of the animals were showing signs of significant psychological distress including compulsive, constant pacing."
Aldworth also said the case 'underscores the importance of strong animal welfare provisions in Canada's Criminal Code'.
Defending the defenseless
Eric Margolis, Founder of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, added: "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."