Alta. farm investigated after graphic images appear online
Published Monday, March 28, 2011 5:58PM MDT
The SPCA arrived at the GuZoo Animal Farm in Three Hills, Alta. Monday after animal lovers targeted GuZoo in a social media blitz alleging some animals were in distress. The government now says it will launch its own comprehensive review into the farm.
Several pictures posted on the CTV Facebook page sparked an outcry from our viewers to help what some say are animals in distress. Two SPCA officials on the run trying to catch a goat are featured in one of the pictures on a Facebook campaign to close GuZoo.
"We are going to have a veterinarian look at that goat...it will be up to the vet to give us a report," said Ken Dean with the SPCA.
The SPCA arrived at GuZoo about a day after the pictures went viral. The owner of GuZoo says the pictures can be explained.
"There's nothing to defend. This is what I'm doing. Is it wrong or right? Well, if it's wrong...you look at these animals and they're all healthy, so, what's wrong with that?" said owner Lynn Gustafson.
Gustafson has been in charge of the zoo for more than 20 years. He told CTV News dealing with animal activists and people who he claims don't understand is part of the job.
When CTV cameras showed up at the zoo Monday, the animals appeared to be healthy. But a very different visual than the pictures posted online by Nick Burgess, a self-proclaimed animal lover, but not an activist.
"You can't take care of them, you shouldn't have them. It's a matter of treating them fairly and not exceeding what you can do as a human," he said.
Burgess says he felt compelled to shed light on what he refers to as a "bad situation."
"Carcasses piled upon carcasses. Just endless, endless decay in the cages. Rusted metals, exposures to many things these animals should never have to deal with for sure."
Gustafson says carnivores eat meat in his zoo -- the same as "city zoos". He says he just doesn't fee them behind closed doors.
The SPCA will not say what or if any action will be taken. But officials admitted there have been complaints.
"A very large number of complaints came in today," said Dean.
Gustafson says if he is forced to give up his animals, they will never go anywhere else.
"That lion is worth $10,000 to taxidermy, and if that's what these people want -- that's what they'll get," he said.
All provincial zoo licences are up for renewal next month. Gustafson says an inspection is expected at his zoo by the end of the week.
The animal carcasses are given to GuZoo by a local veterinarian and Alberta Highway Services. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development told CTV News a review of GuZoo is underway and concerns will be identified and appropriate action will be taken.
With files from Dez Melenka