Owner of Saint-Édouard zoo goes on counterattack

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One week after being arrested and charged with animal cruelty and neglect, the owner of the Saint-Édouard zoo is fighting back.

In a motion filed in Quebec Superior Court, Norman Trahan's lawyer is asking the search warrants issued against his client be canceled, his property be returned and the Montreal SPCA's access to his facilities be revoked.

Trahan's legal team is arguing the SPCA was not impartial while exercising its duties as peace officers and falsely claimed the animals at the zoo were in imminent danger.

The claim was filed alongside a signed affidavit from animal behavior specialist Jacinthe Bouchard, who called out the SPCA and the Humane Society International for their handling of the animals at the zoo. Bouchard visited the facilities over the weekend and said the health and safety of animals is being seriously compromised by the lack of competence of the people in charge.

Following the motion, the Montreal SPCA issued a statement on how the arrest and seizure of animals last week came to light. 

The organization said its officer's conduction an investigation over several months and obtained a number of court orders to collect evidence. It then submitted its findings to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP). Criminal charges against Normand Trahan were then authorized.

A justice of the peace confirmed the SPCA officers had reasonable grounds to believe Trahan had violated the Criminal Code's section on animal cruelty and neglect. He then authorized the search of the zoo, which the SPCA said was conducted in accordance with the directives set by the judicial officer.