This article was originally published on THUMP Canada.
A patron allegedly brought a lion cub with them into upscale Toronto lounge Lavelle this past weekend, reports the Toronto Star. The furry nightclub crawler managed to get past security and make a splash on social media on Friday, when several images surfaced on Instagram of attendees taking selfies on the rooftop patio, before Toronto Animal Services were called to the King Street West venue to investigate.
Camille Labchuk, executive director of the Canadian animal rights non-profit organization Animal Justice, was alerted to the since-deleted photos by a supporter whose friend had seen them online. In an official statement about the incident, she said, "It's illegal in Toronto to parade exotic animals around nightclubs for marketing purposes. Baby animals aren't toys. This lion cub should be with her mother, not used as a prop for selfies".
The possession of a lion or any other exotic animals is prohibited by the city's bylaws, and is punishable by a fine of $5,000.
It's still unclear how somebody was able to sneak the animal into the club, but Danny Roth, a spokesperson for Lavelle, told the Star the lion was not associated with the club or brought in for promotional purposes. Roth also stated that the patron was reportedly asked to leave Lavelle once security got wind that the cub was not authorized to be on the premises.
THUMP reached out to the club for comment but did not receive a response.