Put Animals Ahead of Politics


Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA) today calls on the City of Sault Ste. Marie to put the welfare of the animals at Spruce Haven Nature Park ahead of politics.

If Council decides to close Spruce Haven, we are concerned the only future for many of the animals in question is to be euthanized or sold into Ontario’s unregulated and deplorable black market for exotic animals.

If, however, Council decides to exempt Spruce Haven from its new zoological bylaw, we remain concerned for the future welfare of the animals and for public safety at that facility unless the City requires Spruce Haven Nature Park to operate by the national standards set and monitored by CAZA.

Consistent with our repeated offers which began as early as October 2017, we urge Council to allow CAZA to evaluate the animals at Spruce Haven and provide an independent assessment on what is in the best interest of their welfare. We urge Council to allow CAZA’s operational experts to review the situation with Council and offer recommendations on public safety whatever outcome is decided.

We recognize that Sault Ste. Marie City Council has arrived at this moment due to a current lack of expertise and resources available locally to effectively evaluate, manage and monitor any zoological facilities. But there is a solution. CAZA represents the leading and accredited zoological parks and aquariums in Canada. Out of hundreds of zoos in Canada, only 31 have received accreditation by demonstrating that they can meet CAZA’s standards for animal welfare, learning and engagement, conservation science, governance and public safety. CAZA regularly works with local governments and other animal welfare agencies to provide guidance and assistance on matters relating to the wellbeing of animals in the care of local facilities.

CAZA draws on the expertise of veterinarians, species experts, public safety and administrative experts, scientists and researchers to inspect zoological facilities and assist local governments to create regulations that ensure robust public safety measures and animal welfare measures are in place -­ with the appropriate enforcement capabilities to impose them.

Our offer to help the City of Sault Ste. Marie – to help the animals at Spruce Haven Nature Park – stands. Please put the animals ahead of politics.



  1. Councillors that voted in favour (Councillors Butland, Meyers, Grandinetti, Fata, Krmpotich, Bruni) of Grandfathering cruelty at Spruce Haven tonight, don’t even appear to know the difference between an animal sanctuary and a zoo.

    Their comments and questions made it obvious that had not carried out any research, nor even read the materials or expert report provided. Very sad.

  2. Please, get those wild animals out of our city limits.

    Force those two dinosaurs, Mayers and Buthland to spend the rest of their days in that cage instead, they are only interested in something that will serve them. They care nothing about the citizens and far less for wild animals.

  3. That is the whole point and why the issues of substandard confinement and care of these beautiful wild animals has been brought to the attention of City Council and the Community. We can do much better for the animals and have a duty to provide better lives for the. Spruce Haven has failed miserably and has had over 30 years to make improvements and has chosen to do NOTHING.

    It’s time to WAKE UP and be grateful for this AMAZINGLY GENEROUS GIFT Zoocheck is offering of moving and re-homing these carnivores to sanctuaries with room to roam AT NO COST TO THE CITY OR SPRUCE HAVEN.

    The Marshalls are already elderly and will not be able to care for these animals for long. It’s time to do RIGHT BY THE ANIMALS and let them live better lives for whatever time they have left. They have suffered long enough.


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