World Animal Protection increasingly concerned about fate of escaped serval in Eganville


This escape sheds light on the pressing issues of animal welfare and public safety in Ontario's wildlife facilities and the need for stricter regulations and oversight.

A month has passed since Gizmo the serval escaped from Waddles ‘n’ Wags in Eganville, Ontario, and World Animal Protection Canada is raising serious concerns over the wellbeing of the serval and the lack of transparency about the potential animal welfare violations that have been discovered at this facility.  

Unanswered questions: The raid at Waddles ‘n’ Wags 

Michèle Hamers, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection Canada, expressed deep concern: “It’s a heartbreaking story, a serval escapes just as Canadian winter arrives, severely reducing the likelihood for this animal to survive. However, the story isn't just about a single escaped serval. The silence surrounding the incident at Waddles ‘n’ Wags is alarming. The public deserves to know the full extent of what's happening in facilities where wild animals are held captive, especially when animals have been removed by provincial animal welfare enforcement officers.” 

Alarming findings at Waddles ‘n’ Wags: Indicative of broader issues in roadside zoos 

The recent raid and subsequent escape at Waddles ‘n’ Wags, which followed an investigation by World Animal Protection Canada into 11 under-regulated roadside zoos, brought to light several alarming issues at this particular roadside zoo: 

  • An American crocodile was found in an inappropriate habitat – a human swimming pool, devoid of adequate safety measures.
  • Cramped enclosures for an armadillo and an American crocodile, hindering their natural movement and behaviors.
  • Unhygienic conditions in most cages, where build-up of animal droppings and uneaten food was visible.

The PAWS Act: A call for enforcement and transparency 

“These findings are just the tip of the iceberg,” Hamers added. “We were thrilled to hear that action was taken, and animals were removed but questions remain unanswered about the fate of the confiscated animals during the raid and of those that weren’t, and if this roadside zoo is continued to be allowed to operate by inviting the public and acquiring new animals.” 

World Animal Protection Canada is urging the Ontario government to implement a mandatory provincial licensing system with rigorous compliance according to top-tier animal welfare, and public health and safety standards. The organization also calls for a gradual phase-out of animal collections in facilities that fail to meet these standards. 

As the search for the missing serval continues, the incident serves as a stark reminder that Ontario is home to many non-native wild species kept in abhorrent conditions across the province and that provincial regulations will be the only way to address this issue.

Speak out for captive wildlife in degrading roadside zoos

There is a critical situation in Ontario: due to a lack of provincial zoo regulations, there are over one thousand wild animals being held captive in degrading conditions.

Act now

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