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OSPCA says it found 11 items requiring action during surprise Marineland inspection

Marineland is shown in Niagara Falls, Ont., Monday, August 14, 2017. Marineland has announced the passing of its "beloved" beluga whale Gia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

Marineland says the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) found “no signs of abuse, distress, mistreatment or neglect” of animals during a surprise inspection of the Niagara Falls tourist attraction on Wednesday, but the OSPCA is contradicting those claims and giving Marineland until the end of the day to address a number of issues.

Last week animal cruelty charges against Marineland were dropped after prosecutors said there was no reasonable chance of conviction. Marineland says the OSPCA’s surprise visit further cements its defence of ongoing animal cruelty allegations.

“Yesterday’s inspection further confirms Marineland’s total innocence to all allegations made by discredited activists and to the recently withdrawn charges laid by the OSPCA that Marineland has categorized as ‘bizarre’,” Marineland said in a statement.

But the OSPCA is contradicting the park’s claims that no issues were discovered during the surprise visit.

“Contrary to what was stated by Marineland, the Ontario SPCA zoo inspectors found 11 items requiring action during our recent unannounced zoo inspection,” OSPCA Sr. Manager, Melissa Kosowan, told CityNews on Thursday.

“Recommendations were made to address deficiency/concerns and administrative requirements. Veterinarians were required and Marineland has until today to report that these concerns have been addressed.”

The OSPCA declined to provide further details on what issues were uncovered during the visit but Marineland continues to vehemently defend itself against allegations made by activists.

“None of the allegations made by activists against Marineland have been verified by any objective review of facts and reality. Marineland has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellent care for all of the animals who call Marineland home.”

The 11 charges against Marineland that were dropped last week came after an OSPCA probe that began last November after the agency received a complaint.

Marineland points out that Wednesday’s inspection by the OSPCA was “not the result of a complaint made against Marineland.”