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Ontario's Marineland faces six new animal cruelty charges

An Elk patrols the edge of the 3rd hole on the Stanley Thompson Eighteen Course at The Fairmont Banff Springs Resort on June 24, 2005 in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An elk in the wild

Ontario's Marineland adventure park is facing six new animal cruelty charges.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) laid the new charges against the tourist attraction in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

In November, the animal welfare agency laid five similar charges against Marineland.

The latest charges relate to elk, red deer, and fallow deer being kept at the amusement park and zoo.

The charges include permitting an animal to be in distress and for failing to provide proper standards of care for the animals in question.

The park has an estimated 650 elk and deer on site.

Last year, the OSPCA cited the adventure park for failing to provide appropriate care for a peacock, guinea hens and American black bears, including not providing enough food and water for the bears being kept at there.

The animal welfare agency's deputy chief, Jennifer Bluhm, said the investigation, which is ongoing, stems from a complaint received by the general public.

No animals have been removed from the park.

Marineland is due in court on 26 January to face the 11 animal cruelty charges. The maximum penalty for these charges include a $60,000 (US$45,300/£37,300) fine and two years in jail.

In a statement, Marineland said it "looks forward to the OSPCA laying out their case in court, where facts matter and there is an objective measure of reality that has not been seen in the basis of their charges or the supporting documentation".

The company also expressed concerns it was being targeted by "a band of discredited" animal rights activists.

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