Ontario’s animal welfare agency says a lawsuit by Marineland alleging the organization targeted the theme park to boost fundraising and appease animal activists is an abuse of process and should be dismissed.
In its statement of defence, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had laid animal cruelty charges against the Niagara Falls, Ont., amusement park, denies Marineland’s claims of malicious prosecution.
The OSPCA says any damages or losses suffered by Marineland due to the criminal charges “are entirely the result of its own misconduct and that (Marineland) is the author of its own misfortune.”
In October, Marineland filed the lawsuit against the OSPCA alleging the agency launched a criminal investigation with the intention of harming the company’s reputation. It also claimed the probe was part of a broader push to ban commercial zoos and aquariums.
The OSPCA investigation led to 11 animal cruelty charges against Marineland that were withdrawn in court last summer.
Marineland says in its statement of claim that the charges had “a direct and seriously negative impact” on its business and operations, and is seeking $21 million in damages on grounds of malicious prosecution, negligent investigation, injurious falsehood, and abuse of power and process.
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