marineland lawsuit

John Holer: the man behind 'Mass Graveland'

Most people have heard of Marineland Canada, but not many people know about the man running the show. John Holer came to Canada with a background working in a travelling circus where he learned to train bears and other animals to do demeaning tricks, so it’s not surprising that Marineand is what it is today.

Since day one, MarineLand has been built on the backs of exploited animals, and that hasn’t changed. Over the years, Holer has gained himself a reputation for being extremely cheap, insensitive to the suffering of people and animals, vindictive, aggressive, and surely someone who should not be in charge of the physical/mental health of ANY animal.

Some of the most shocking scandals and allegations surrounding the man in charge of Marineland include:

-In 1977 John Holer was charged with illegally importing dolphins into the United States after stopping for fuel in Texas. Holer was fined $10,000.

-In 1983 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment laid charges against Holer and Marineland for running an illegal toxic waste dump. Marineland pleaded guilty to 44 charges under the environmental protection act and was fined $15,000.

-In 1992 John Holer was charged by the Lincoln County Humane Society with animal cruelty for failing to provide suitable and adequate care for a newborn deer. The judge later dismissed this charged based on the technicality that Marineland Inc. should have been charged instead of its hands on owner, John Holer.

-In 1996 Holer was charged with careless driving after allegedly striking a protester with his truck as she leafleted outside Marineland. The protester was transported to a hospital by ambulance with injuries described by police as “very minor.” Holer was acquitted of the careless driving charge in July 1997.

-In 1999 the 65 year old brother of John Holer, Stanislav Holer was charged with sexually assaulting a 16 year old female Marineland employee.

-In 2009 John Holer & Marineland served eviction notices to 47 families of the Green Oaks trailer park. Holer had purchased the land 5 years earlier and claimed he wanted to build maintenance facilities on the land previously giving no indication of his intentions and allowing new residents to buy homes there. Facing total loss of their homes and equity residents appealed to the city and the Landlord & Tenant Board. Holer drove through the park on a daily basis harassing the tenants. Former business partner of Holer and then Mayor of Niagara Falls Ted Salci refused to invoke an existing city bylaw to help the residents and despite evidence to in their favour the L&T Board ruled against them. On the day of eviction in 2011 long time resident Paula Millard committed suicide in her home. To this day the small 6 acre area remains empty and unused.

-In 2010 SeaWorld served Holer notice that they were terminating a longstanding breeding agreement between the two parks because they were concerned for the well being of their orca Ikaika if it remained at Marineland. Holer and Marineland refused to hand over the killer whale and was taken to court by SeaWorld eventually losing the case and appeal.

-In 2012 Marineland was the subject of an extensive investigation by the Toronto Star exposing animal abuse and neglect at the park. Inspections and orders from various regulatory agencies were initiated and there was widespread public condemnation and the biggest protests in the park’s history.

-In late 2012 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment discovered Marineland was burying thousands of dead animals illegally on the property and ordered them to stop.

-In 2013 Marineland began launching SLAPP lawsuits against virtually anyone who opposed them.  By mid 2013 they had multi-million dollar lawsuits against 3 former employees, 2 activists and the Toronto Star newspaper.

-In 2013 Holer was videotaped threatening another protester outside the park. He threatened to “stab and bury” the individual handing out leaflets. Police investigated and despite the threat being captured on video no charges were laid.

-2013 Marineland issued permit by the Ontario Ministry of Environment to resume burying dead animals on the property.