GuZoo to remain open, judicial review adjourned indefinitely

EDMONTON — The owners of a private zoo in central Alberta want their day in court.

EDMONTON — The owners of a private zoo in central Alberta want their day in court.

The Gustafsons, who operate GuZoo near Three Hills, plan to push for a new date for a judicial review.

“The fight’s not over yet,” Irene Gustafson said Friday. “We’re still looking at significant legal proceedings and serious financial sacrifice in order to rectify this.”

The provincial government decided last spring it would no longer issue the zoo a permit, because an independent investigation found deficiencies in its operations. But a judge allowed it to reopen under strict conditions pending the review, which was to begin in January.

But Darcy Whiteside with Sustainable Resource Development said it has been postponed indefinitely.

“There’s more information to discuss, more information to share,” said Whiteside.

GuZoo can remain open as long as it abides by the court conditions. They include not allowing the public to have contact with exotic animals and other wildlife, upholding special requirements on the care and handling of the animals and agreeing to unscheduled government inspections.

Gustafson said her family agreed to the conditions because they were supposed to be temporary.

“These are conditions basically infringing on our personal rights and freedoms.”

One condition that says no animals can be moved on or off the property.

“I can’t buy a puppy for my daughter for Christmas, and I’m not even allowed to take my horse on a trail ride.”

Gustafson said the zoo is closed for the winter. It is set to open again April 1.