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The Quebec workers' safety board has ordered the closure a small zoo at the heart of an animal cruelty investigation and the removal of the animals that remain on site.

A relocation of the animals had begun after the Montreal SPCA and its partners descended on the St-Edouard Zoo on May 21 and charged its owner with one count each of criminal animal neglect and criminal animal cruelty.

Animal welfare groups had moved to seize over 100 wild and exotic animals including lions, tigers, wolves, deer and dozens of other species from the rural property east of Montreal.

But a lawyer for zoo owner Normand Trahan filed a motion seeking a cancellation of the seizure warrants, which put the transfer on hold a few days later.

Helene Bruneau, a spokeswoman for the workers' safety board, says the new order comes after an inspector visited the St-Edouard Zoo on Saturday to investigate a complaint by the Montreal SPCA.

The zoo hadn't reopened since the raid, but the safety board inspection found the site wasn't safe for the workers who have been caring for the animals.

"On site, the inspector saw that the infrastructure did not let the workers provide care in a completely safe manner," Bruneau said. "There was a risk of contact with the animals."

The criminal case against the Trahan returns to court in Trois-Rivieres, Que., on June 21.