WATCH: Animal cruelty charges stayed after owner of Bowmanville Zoo suffers stroke
***VIEWER DISCRETION: The following videos may be disturbing****
An Ontario man accused of whipping one of the tigers at his zoo will not face trial after he suffered a stroke last month.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the charges against Michael Hackenberger, the owner of the now-closed Bowmanville Zoo, were stayed because he had a stroke in February and is medically unfit.
The animal welfare agency filed four counts of causing an animal distress and one of failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for an animal, all under the authority of the provincial OSPCA Act. Three of the distress charges in the case relate to the use of a whip.
The OSPCA began investigating after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released footage that appeared to show Hackenberger allegedly whipping one of his tigers at the Bowmanville Zoo and boasting about it.
The Bowmanville Zoo, famous for providing animals for Hollywood movies, closed last fall, citing a ``catastrophic'' drop in attendance.
Hackenberger's lawyer, David Elmaleh, declined comment when reached.
When reached for comment, Peta sent NEWSTALK 1010 a statement:
We understand that when someone suffers a massive stroke, it means that any case against the person will likely be stayed. Our video is on PETA.org for anyone to see and remember why the charges were brought. We wish no one any harm, and we hope the animals still at the Bowmanville Zoo will be retired to a reputable sanctuary as soon as possible so that they'll never feel the sting of a whip again.