Concerned citizens holding public information session about grandfathering clause of animal control by-law


Sault Ste Marie – City Council has voted to grandfather Spruce Haven Zoo into the new animal control by-law, which will otherwise prohibit zoos from operating within Sault Ste. Marie.

They believe that in making this decision, City Council did not act in the city’s best interests, as there are a number of legal, safety, and moral concerns that come with it.

Council has not yet voted on the final version of the by-law that includes the grandfathering clause, so there is still time to convince the councillors not to do so. All residents are invited to attend an information session the evening of Wednesday, March 28, 2018 to learn about the issues surrounding the grandfathering clause and to make sure their voices are heard by Council.

A representative from Zoocheck – an accredited organization that has offered to move the zoo’s carnivores at no cost to the zoo – will be available for questions, and all members of City Council have been invited to attend.

The information session will be held in the Program Room at the Centennial Library on March 28, 2018 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the organizers via the Facebook event page at


  1. A very common concern throughout all discussions involving Zoocheck’s offer to move the Carnivores to accredited sanctuaries is:

    Won’t the animals do worse being moved at their age? Will they die during Transport? Is this a safe process?

    Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director of Zoocheck has addressed these very questions both to City Council and in her correspondence to local media.

    “We are aware that the spruce Haven Owners have expressed fear for the safety of some of the animals should they be re located.

    That maybe due to their lack of experience in moving older animals.

    In fact, the transport of elderly animals by zoos, sanctuaries and reserves is relatively commonplace….

    Unfortunately, some people also don’t seem to realize there is a significant risk posed to senior animals when they remain in less than ideal conditions…”

    This is just a small part of the important info in this letter.

  2. For those of you that refuse to do your homework before commenting, here is more background info I hope you will at least take the time to read to come up to speed with before making nonsensical comments.

    Also, it is important to note that at least 3 different petitions to shut down Spruce Haven due to deplorable conditions that the carnivores are suffering in, that have close to 280,000 signatures combined WORLD WIDE. The world is watching and Sault Ste. Marie will be KNOWN WORLDWIDE as a heartless, carelessly cruel city if it does not rectify the unacceptable conditions for the carnivores at Spruce Haven and do the RIGHT THING and remove and rehome them to accredited sanctuaries as they have suffered long enough.

  3. People if you are going to comment at least take the time to educate yourselves on this issue.

    The carnivores would be moved by professional wildlife movers and handlers trained to do so, to accredited specie specific sanctuaries (NOT RELEASED INTO THE WILD!). With acres to roam and specie specific enrichments. Many aged animals have been moved from captive environments to sanctuaries where they THRIVE for the first time in their lives. Get your facts straights and know what you are commenting on please!

    There is a huge difference between a 20 x 20 foot cage and a sanctuary!! This is about what is in the BEST INTEREST OF THE ANIMALS AND THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY!

    There is no place for Zoos and people trying to profit off the backs of wild animals confined to ridiculous 20 foot x 20 foot cages and smaller in a compassionate, caring, intelligent city in this day and age.

    Spruce Haven has had 30 plus years to get it right and make improvements and did nothing. While the owners themselves are well into their advanced years and have no plan in place to take care of the animals should they become incapacitated or die ahead of the animals. EVERYONE needs to realize this is a GIFT BEING OFFERED TO SPRUCE HAVE AND OUR CITY by Zoocheck, as it would cost HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for the owners or the city to relocate these animals when the time comes.

    • So it will not cost the city or current operators anything to have all the animals moved and taken care off?

      • No, not if they take the offer from Zoocheck now! The offer is here NOW, that doesn’t mean this offer will be here a year from now or later when the Marshalls cannot care for these wild animals and don’t have the money to move them or the City will be on the hook to rehome them to sanctuaries. Again this is a GIFT BEING OFFERED TO SPRUCE HAVE AND SAULT STE. MARIE AT NO COST TO EITHER to move the carnivores which is a MASSIVELY EXPENSIVE OPERATION TO DO SO.

        It is irresponsible and foolish not to accept this offer when the owners themselves are already well into their twilight years. Nor is it in the best interest of the wild animals to keep them at Spruce Haven in substandard cages when accredited sanctuaries have agreed to take them.

  4. How would they feel if someone took their parents / grandparents that was in a nursing home for ? 10+ years and made them go to another nursing home….
    Moving animals from the home they know for how many years? Will only depress them and they will die…

    • If that nursing home forced them to live in a closet where they could only take a few steps in either direction but the staff told you they loved them would that be ok for your parents and grandparents to stay there?

  5. These animals are old and wouldn’t take to move very well. Let them live out their lives here…unless those who are complaining can move them at their expense to a sanctuary

    • Warren…this is exactly what this is about…Zoocheck has offered to rehome all of the carnivores (a hundred of thousands of dollars move) AT NO COST TO SPRUCE HAVEN OR THE CITY OF SAULT STE. MARIE to accredited sanctuaries with STAFF AND EDUCATED WILD LIFE EXPERTS to care for the animals and allow them to live out their remaining years with room to roam and HAVE A LIFE!


  6. I hope those that are concerned enough to comment will come to this session and listen to all the information available.

  7. ….by consulting with experts and specialists in this field to determine what is best for the animals. By accepting recommendations and assistance from organizations that specialize in this area. Oh wait, we already did that. There is all the information required for Saultites to make an informed decision in the report by Zoocheck.

  8. So all these people think we should just release these animals back into the wild. Maybe they should take them home and try to do as the Marshall’s have and feed them and care for them. These animals can not be released back into the wild most are injured and too old. Put your wallet where your mouth is get real.

      • Did you donate your money to help build larger homes for these animals did you offer to go clean and feed did you give money to pay vet bills I’m pretty sure the answer is no. And by the way was that your dog that #### in my yard?

  9. For anyone that is concerned for these animals why don’t you donate your time or better yet building materials to make the enclosures bigger . These animals are older and being moved could harm them and obviously the people looking after them love them so why move them . If everyone donated their time materials and or money I’m sure these animals would have a really nice place for their remaining years .

    • From what I understand making the enclosures bigger is only one of many issues that need to be addressed. This is not only for the benefit of the animals, it will relieve these aging owners of all the responsibilities, at no cost to them as they reach their golden years and may not be able to take care of the animals much longer. As other poster commented, city hall will not change their minds anyway, the animals will stay right where they are.

    • If the owners did love these wild animals they would happily agree to rehome them to accredited sanctuaries with the space, training, knowledge and funds to care for them properly and act in the best interest of the animals, not the dollar signs on their backs they are holding on to them for.

      What will they do with them when they can no longer take care of them? Sell them off to a circus somewhere perhaps?

      Why would anyone try to build a bigger cage when there are already accredited specie specific wild animal sanctuaries that have experts on hand that are trained and have designed the facilities for wild animals such as the ones at Spruce Haven that have been kept in substandard conditions for their entire lives? That is the whole point of a sanctuary, to allow these unfortunate captive animals that have suffered at the hands of humans looking upon them only as money generators and not the sentient beings that they are and deserve to be treated as, even if that opportunity only comes to them in their final years. Doing otherwise only condones the captive, substandard living conditions and the inherent cruelty that goes along with it.

    • Very generous help has already been extended to this Zoo—with Experts in this field overseeing and taking care of everything. They specialize in relocating animals into accredited sanctuaries specifically for Wild Animals. All this FREE of charge. Well-meaning Citizens and volunteers are great, but is this a sustainable plan? What happens when the aging animals need veterinary care? At the Sanctuary, they have qualified and experienced staff. I don’t see how we can top this.

      • Legal Counsel for the City advised against grandfathering in Spruce Haven Zoo because we don’t have the expertise here to take care of these animals. Volunteers won’t change that. Definitely not a sustainable plan.

  10. Although I agree with these people, the robots at city hall will not change their minds and this effort will be all for not.
    Remember this at election time.

    • Councillors sitting in chairs at City Hall are there to represent the BEST INTEREST OF THE citizens of this City. If people would care enough about making a positive difference and contact the Mayor and council to say NO TO GRANDFATHERING SPRUCE HAVEN IN THE ANIMAL CONTROL AND ZOO BYLAW the record would speak for itself.

      Commenting on here doesn’t change anything, contacting the Mayor and Council does!

      Here is their contact info for each of them:

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