Two Quebec men in court for allegedly hunting wild boars, elk in safari park

GATINEAU, Que. — Two Quebec men appeared in a Gatineau, Que., courtroom Friday on charges that they broke into a safari animal park and killed three wild boar and one elk.

Provincial police allege Mathieu Godard, 47, and Jeremiah Mathias-Polson, 21, had four animal carcasses in their vehicle when they were arrested Nov. 10 inside Omega animal park, located about 130 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The two have been charged with wilfully killing animals kept for a lawful purpose, breaking and entering, illegally transporting firearms, and unlawfully firing a firearm during a break and enter.

Godard was released with conditions on Monday and is prohibited from going to the animal park in Montebello, Que., communicating with Mathias-Polson, carrying a firearm, and consuming drugs or alcohol.

Mathias-Polson was on probation at the time of his arrest and remains in custody. His bail hearing was set for Dec. 1. Godard is also expected in court the same day.

Omega park spokesperson Billie-Prisca Giroux said in a recent news release that the park's customers are safe and the incident was an "isolated event."

"We have put all the necessary efforts in place to ensure that this situation does not happen again, for everyone's safety and for the safety of our precious animals," Giroux said.

According to his social media account, Godard is a professional hunting guide. He declined a request for comment.

Provincial police spokesperson Marc Tessier said in a recent interview that a security guard at the park called 911 at around 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 after noticing a break-in.

"A few minutes later, the guard heard noises similar to gunshots," Tessier said. "The police quickly arrived and located and intercepted a vehicle. Both men were arrested. Police found four animal carcasses inside the vehicle."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2022.

— By Marisela Amador in Montreal

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press