A New Brunswick judge has dismissed a request to release a third-party report into allegations of animal cruelty at Saint John’s Cherry Brook Zoo.
The allegations surfaced in January when a complaint on social media claimed a “number” of guinea pigs died at the hands of a zookeeper. Cherry Brook Zoo has denied the allegations.
The complaint sparked a New Brunswick SPCA investigation, with the organization ultimately recommending that charges be laid for alleged inhumane euthanasia and causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
But a review by the Crown, as well as Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, concluded there was not sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.
Despite the result of the investigations, Ken Hopkins, a member of the New Brunswick SPCA, hoped a judge would release the report into the alleged incident.
But in a decision from Justice M. Deborah Hackett of Fredericton’s Court of Queen’s Bench, the referral was dismissed based on the determination that the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RTIPPA) “does not apply to the New Brunswick SPCA because it does not meet the criteria and/or definition of any of the bodies that are subject to the Act.”
Hackett indicated that the SPCA does not receive direct government funding for animal protection but, rather, receives an annual $100,000 grant from the New Brunswick government and holds a service provider contract for rural dog control.
“Because the New Brunswick SPCA is a private registered charity, it is not subject to RTIPPA,” the SPCA said in a Facebook post referencing Hackett’s ruling.
WATCH: Release of New Brunswick report on animal cruelty at zoo in limbo
The SPCA is calling on the public to continue calling its hotline if they suspect the mistreatment of animals.
With files from Silas Brown.