In May the owner of the Zoo St-Edouard, a popular zoo in the Mauricie area, just west of Trois-Rivières, was arrested on counts of animal cruelty and neglect.
Norman Trahan, the owner of the popular zoo, was allegedly running the zoo as an "unaccredited facility." At the time of the arrest, little else was known about the details of the charges.
However, more details of the case have just emerged. As Radio-Canada reports, a previously protected document was made public. The document recounts the events that took place at the zoo, and they are truly disturbing.
The document details the investigation process carried out by the SPCA. The SPCA investigated the zoo for months after receiving numerous complaints. We've broken down some of the SPCA's findings below.
Inadequate Food and Water
The findings show that much of the animal's food was either inadequate or contaminated. A veterinarian who visited the zoo noted that the animal's hay was contaminated by pigeon droppings, which can cause serious illness in some animals.
Many animals, like a young alpaca and a lioness, were found to be malnourished.
The veterinarian also found that access to water was appalling. In many cases, animals either had no access to water or access to water that was contaminated. Animals kept outside often found their water frozen, and were therefore unable to drink.
Many animals suffered from frostbite because their enclosures were not heated. A veterinarian called to the facility told the SPCA that he made Trahan aware that three of his lemurs had frostbite on their paws.
The animals had been left in this condition for over a week. Some lemurs lost their fingers, and one had "exposed bone." He recommended that the animals be amputated, but the zoo owner told the veterinarian that the animals "could still reproduce despite the frostbite."
Because of the painful nature of their wounds, the veterinarian then recommended euthanasia, but Trahan refused. The veterinarian later ceased to work with the zoo.
That is not the only time that Trahan refused to follow the recommendations of a veterinarian, according to the report. He himself "euthanised" animals by shooting them in the head.
One such victim was Layla, a young lion cub. She was being treated for a pelvic fracture and an inadequate diet. Though, according to vets, Layla was getting better, she once again got worse because the zoo owner allegedly stopped giving her supplements.
He later shot her because the "veterinary treatments were not working."
Cadavres Found In His Home
When the SPCA inspected his home, they found many odd things. In his cold room they found the bodies of two lions. Trahan explained that they fought in their cages and the lioness was found dead while the lion was found so severely handicapped that he shot him. He wanted to bring them to a taxidermist.
Autopsies found no such evidence of a fight. In fact, the lioness was euthanised while the lion was indeed shot. The lion did not die on the spot.
The SPCA also allegedly found entire piglets, frozen meat, and the heads of many animals in his cold room.
One veterinarian explains that, while she has worked with many lower-income zoos in her life, "she's never seen anything close to the conditions I observed during the search at the St-Edouard Zoo."
Norman Trahan is expected in court on June 21. You can read the full Radio-Canada report here.