The Niagara Falls attraction’s lawyers were set to begin mounting their defense, but requested and received a deferral until February 23rd after a brief appearance at Provincial Offences Court.
John Holer, Marineland’s owner, was not in attendance.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) laid the first set of charges, five counts of animal cruelty, against the attraction in November. The original charges are: one count for permitting a peacock to be in distress; one count for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for a peacock; two counts for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for guinea hens; and one count for failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care including failing to provide adequate and appropriate food and water for approximately 35 American black bears.
The OSPCA began its investigation into the care of land mammals at Marineland in early November 2016.
The OSPCA added six more charges earlier this month. Its alleged that the park failed to comply with prescribed care standards and permitted the animals to be in distress. Those charges against the park relate to the treatment of elk, red deer and fallow deer.
Marineland alleges the information came from a former employee who was fired for inappropriate behaviour and poor performance. They accuse the OSPCA of mounting a smear campaign
In a news release in January Steve Toy, OSPCA senior inspector said, “We want to reassure the public that the [OSPCA] will continue to make sure these animals are getting the care they require.”
The OSPCA is not currently investigating the treatment of any marine mammals at the theme park.