NIAGARA FALLS – A Toronto Star investigation into allegations of animal neglect at Marineland had the social media world buzzing with opinion, Wednesday.
Just hours after the feature story was published as the main story on The Star’s website, Marineland was trending on Twitter.
In less than 24 hours, the story by Star national affairs reporter Linda Diebel had been shared on Facebook more than 11,000 times directly from the newspaper’s website.
The story also had nearly 200 reader comments posted to it.
To read the full story click HERE.
A second story was published Thursday.
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said he was inundated with calls an emails from residents throughout the day and evening Wednesday. He also had numerous requests from out-of-town media seeking interviews.
Diodati said he is telling people to remember “there are two sides to every story.” The allegations, which Marineland has vigorously denied, fall outside the jurisdiction of the city to investigate.
A spokesperson for the Niagara Falls Humane Society said the agency received “hundreds” of calls about The Star story.
The agency declined to provide anyone for an on-the-record interview, Wednesday, instead pointing to the following statement posted to its website:
“The Niagara Falls Humane Society was made aware of the allegations levied against Marineland when reading today’s article in the Toronto Star. NFHS takes all animal related concerns very seriously and will conduct investigations, as necessary, in consultation with the OSPCA. The NFHS will be reviewing the allegations and interviewing those involved with this situation. The public are encouraged to contact the NFHS, or their local SPCA, with any concerns regarding any animal welfare complaints.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario New Democratic Party on Wednesday afternoon issued a press release saying the party is calling on the McGuinty government to take immediate steps to protect sea mammals in captivity.
“Today’s story about Marineland was truly heart wrenching,” said NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, who represents the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park.
“How can we as a society put regulations on individual pet owners, but not on companies which use animals for entertainment?”
DiNovo says she feels provincial legislation “fails to adequately regulate” the treatment of captive sea mammals in Ontario. By contrast, she notes, the Vancouver Parks Board has banned the purchase of aquatic mammals captured from the wild, and the United States has a Marine Mammal Protection Act.
“These allegations should be a wake up call for the Ontario government to take the lead in regulating the treatment of sea mammals in Ontario,” DiNovo added.