Niagara Falls tourist attraction Marineland facing charges over care of its black bears

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — Ontario has charged the Niagara Falls, Ontario, tourist attraction Marineland over the care of its black bears.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General said Wednesday charges were laid out on Tuesday.

“Marineland of Canada, Inc. in Niagara Falls, Ontario, has been charged with three counts of failing to comply with an order related to the care of American Black Bears,” said Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the ministry.

Ross said the charges have been laid under a section of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act that allows an inspector to issue an order to help animals that may be in distress. The facility must comply with the order or otherwise face charges.

The ministry declined to provide additional details. Marineland said it was working on providing comment.

Marineland has previously said it treats all its animals well and exceeds the standards of care as prescribed under the law.

The park houses an unknown number of black bears that live together in an enclosure with dens and water. Visitors can feed the bears popcorn.

In 2016, when the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals enforced laws against animal cruelty, Marineland was charged with one count of failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for about 35 American black bears, including failing to provide adequate and appropriate food and water for them.

The prosecution later dropped the charges, saying there was no reasonable chance for a conviction.

In 2013, OSPCA issued an order to Marineland to build separate habitats to protect bear cubs from being mauled and devoured by adult males. Marineland said it would develop a birth control program, which OSPCA agreed to. The park said it complied with the order.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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