Protestors force way into Marineland
About 150 animal rights activists in Niagara Falls forced their way past Marineland's gates on Sunday.
The group was part of protest that drew some 800 demonstrators. Some are demanding better treatment of Marineland's sea mammals & animals. Others want the park shut down.
Dan Dakin, a reporter with the Niagara Falls Review says though protests are common outside Marineland, this one felt different.
Protestors kept moving closer and closer to the theme park's entrance. Dakin says all bets were off when inside, Marineland owner John Holer pulled up to the gates.
Dakin says the sight of Holer acted as ammunition for protestors who started hopping fences & turnstiles, forcing their way into Marineland.
Once inside, protestors swarmed around the stadium pool, just left of the main gates where a dolphin performance was on. Dakin says the protestors were chanting, waving signs & yelling at park visitors.
Niagara Regional Police quickly ushered the protestors out of the park. No one was hurt & there was no damage done to Marineland property. One person was ticketed for trespassing.
Marineland has been under the microscope since ex-trainers blew the whistle on alleged mistreatment of animals at the theme park.
That prompted investigations by the OSPCA & the Canadian Association of Zoos & Aquariums. While the probe is ongoing, CAZA said it didn't find any huge issues at the park. The OSPCA doesn't have the power to check out animals under the care of a veterinarian. Marineland has 3 on staff. The park has agreed to outside inspections of their water.
Sunday's protest included speeches from ex-Marineland trainer Phil Demers, Parkdale-High Park NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo & dolphin advocate Richard O'Barry. DiNovo plans to introduce legislation to stop the import of wild animals.
**PHOTOS from Mike Garett via twitter