CNESST closes St-Édouard Zoo over safety concerns

Quebec's workplace safety board is now involved in the ongoing saga surrounding the St-Édouard Zoo.

According to the Montreal SPCA, investigators with the CNESST visited the zoo's facilities, located about 120 kms north east of Montreal, over the weekend.

"Following this inspection, the CNESST concluded that is impossible for workers to provide the necessary care to animals in a safe manner because of the facilities' many deficiencies," the animal shelter wrote in a statement. "It also considers it impossible to make the premises safe in the presence of animals."

As a result the safety board ordered the zoo be closed.

The investigation comes after an incident last week when two tigers managed to escape their enclosure and made their way into a larger fenced area that employees of the zoo would have access to. An inspection of the original paddock found a rusted part of the cage door broke, allowing the tigers to escape.

"As a result, the commission ordered the closure of the site, while allowing workers to continue caring for the animals until they are evacuated," wrote the SPCA. 

The SPCA and Humane Canada International are working with Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and registered and experienced animal transporters, with the support of veterinarians, to continue with the urgent relocation of any animals deemed to be "high risk."

"All animal transport operations are being-and will continue to be-carried out in accordance with best practices," the SPCA said.

Last month the owner of the zoo, Normand Trahan, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and neglect.