Canadian authorities raided a zoo and arrested its owner, after finding two dead tigers on the property on Tuesday.

Norman Trahan, owner of the Saint-Edouard Zoo in Saint-Edouard-de-Maskinonge, located about 120 kilometers northeast of Montreal, is facing charges of animal cruelty and neglect. He may face up to five years in prison and a lifetime ban on animal ownership if he is convicted.

The local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and a team of veterinarians catalogued and checked the health of more than 100 animals, including lions, zebras, kangaroos, and bears seized from the zoo.

(Nicolas Asfouri)

“Given the magnitude and the complexity of the endeavor, the operation will take place over a number of weeks and will be conducted in partnership with Humane Society International, an organization specialized in mass animal rescue operations,” Sophie Gillard, the one in charge of the operation, said during a press conference.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time in Canada that a zoo owner has been charged with criminal animal cruelty,” she added.

The animals rescued from the zoo will be transported to sanctuaries and specialized facilities somewhere in North America.

SPCA said they started investigating the zoo back in August 2018 after receiving a tip of mistreatment of animals from a visitor.

The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson

The animal protection officers then began to document the “significant problems” with the animals’ health and living conditions. They later on found two alpacas in very poor conditions, while four animal remains, including that of the tigers, were found.

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