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Canadian judge shuts down, fines LFS $20,000 for keeping animals in distress

By Leonard Ho - Posted Mar 01, 2017 09:00 AM
A Calgary provincial judge has ordered Riverfront Aquariums to shut down and pay $20,000 in fines in violation of the Animal Protection Act. Additionally, the owners are prohibited from owning any new pets in the future.
Canadian judge shuts down, fines LFS $20,000 for keeping animals in distress

February 27, 2017 Google search result for Riverfront Aquariums


Calgary Herald reports that on December 2, 2015, the Calgary Humane Society raided and seized 333 animals from Riverfront Aquariums, a local fish store in Calgary, on grounds of reported neglect and the poor conditions in which the animals were kept.

This week, the Canadian court, upon consideration of evidence and expert testimonies, found the pet store's owners, Wayne Woo and Michael Chow, guilty of inflicting distress on the animals under their care in violation of Alberta's Animal Protection Act. Wrote the presiding Judge, Heather Lamoureux in her ruling:

“The pet store Riverfront was run on an ad hoc basis, with minimal staff, no formal training, inadequate water supplies, inadequate food supplies, dated inadequate enclosures and no reasonable access to veterinary care for wounded or ill animals.”

Wayne Woo in 2009.
Wayne Woo in 2009.

Lamoureux has ordered the permanent closure of Riverfront Aquariums and fined the store $20,000.  Furthermore, Woo was personally fined $4,000, the maximum penalty allowed under the Animal Protection Act, and the judge prohibited Woo from owning any pet (except his family dog) for the rest of his life.  Chow also received a ten-year prohibition.

Sadly, too many of us have seen pet stores who have no business keeping, let alone selling animals or giving advice.  As a fishkeeper, do you think the punishment fit the crime?  Too harsh?  Too lenient?  Should governments regulate animal care?


Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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