The NGO Animal Justice reported the issue to Toronto Animal Services, referencing a Toronto law which forbids the possession of lions and other exotic animals. The Toronto Animal Services are currently looking into the matter.
Lawyer and Animal Justice director Camille Labchuk states in a press release:
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.
A spokesman at Lavelle claims the lion cub was brought into the club by a rich client, and apparently the club's management was not involved in authorising such an arrangement. Otherwise occupied at the time, they didn't realise what was going on until after the clubgoers had taken their photos with the animal.
Camille Labchuk believes the lion cub probably comes from the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, owned by Hollywood animal trainer Michael Hackenberger. Distressingly, he rose to fame after publishing numerous videos which showed him whipping a tiger during a "training" session.
But it gets worse: the Bowmanville Zoo Facebook page controversially advertises "lion cub encounters", with one of these cubs bearing a striking resemblance to the one seen in the selfies in Toronto. Labchuk continues:
It’s seriously detrimental to the welfare of these animals to be owned by private people and taken around to events like this. It’s very dangerous to have these wild animals. They are not tame they are not domesticated they’re not like house cats.
It's important to remember that the lions, tigers and any other creatures who are "tamed" and trained to be around humans are most often separated from their mothers far earlier than they should be, then tragically beaten and even drugged.