More than 400 dogs and puppies were seized late Friday from a large-scale commercial breeding facility in the Outaouais that officials called the worst case of its kind ever in Canada.
“By far, this was the largest commercial breeding facility, involving some of the most inhumane conditions, that our animal rescue team has ever encountered in Canada,” Lauren Scott, of Humane Society International Canada said in a news release. “Hundreds of dogs were denied their most basic needs and proper care and lacked adequate socialization.”
The owner of the family-run Clarendon facility, however, called the raid groundless.
“I’m not doing anything wrong,” said Charlene Labombard, 66, who owns Paws “R” Us kennel near Shawville, about 90 km northwest of Ottawa. “The public is happy with it. We clean and disinfect every day.”
The kennel has been operating since 1996 and carries 40 breeds, selling for $300 to $500 each.
ANIMA-Quebec staff showed up at about 9:30 a.m. Friday for a two-hour inspection, which was videotaped by the owners.
They returned, Labombard said, at 4:30 p.m. with two officers and a warrant.
By 5 p.m., roughly 40 more people showed up with two transport trucks.
HSI Canada, in partnership with the province and local law enforcement, began taking the dogs, saying they’re not receiving proper care.
But Labombard says her family loves animals and the dogs were doing just fine with them, adding customers have been filling her online guestbook with compliments since 2001.
“My daughter is an animal-care specialist. The other one is a trainer,” Labombard said, adding a couple of dogs did have skin conditions and lice.
“They’ve shut me down. I’ll never be able to recover from this.”
The dogs were taken by truckload to an emergency shelter where they will be cared for, checked by a team of veterinarians, and given any necessary veterinary care.
HSI Canada spokesman Dean Pogas said investigators worked throughout the night to assess and examine the animals.
The historic seizure comes days before the government of Quebec is expected to release the province’s updated animal welfare regulations.
Animal welfare groups believe these updates will help to crack down on the province’s worst puppy mill operations partially through increased penalties.
It’s horribly sad. I bought my first Saint Bernard from them in 1996, from an ad in the Montreal Gazette. At that time they were a family of pig farmers with lots (11!) kids, a set of St Bernard dogs and a couple pugs. That is it. My puppy was totally socialized: she was used to people, playing outside and inside, very healthy, and Canadian Kennel Club registered breed dog (and I did meet the parent dogs, also healthy, family pets). Sadly the bottom fell out of the pig market and since the selling of the daughter’s puppies went well, they got rid of the pigs and filled the barns with dogs. How they thought that dogs don’t need to be played with, groomed, introduced to homes, cars, other animals like cats, interact with children and adults, see traffic and sidewalks, and the sun, earth and grass, I’ll never know. Why they think that dogs that are going to be human companions for the next 10-15 yrs of their lives should be raised inside open pens in closed barns with artificial light and automatic sewage sluicing like pigs who will be slaughtered to make pork chops and bacon within the year, I have no idea. I really do believe that the Labombards think what they did was ok, but that just seems to be a sign that they shouldn’t be allowed to have the dogs back, and should be barred from this sort of activity altogether, even breeding a family pet or two again. It seems insane. I told Mme Labombard that she had turned her business into an immoral puppy mill, when I discovered my photo of my dog, and thanks to her that I had sent personally, pre-puppy-mill days on her pawsrus website, but she didn’t take me seriously. I was so sorry to see how things devolved, when it was on the news.
excellent comment, people need to wake up. And where are our governments , I guess there is not enough money interest for them in the dog business so they don’t give a s…. We need our governments to regulate these kennels and they need to be inspected regularly . Remember dogs may not be our whole lives but for a great majority of us they make our lives whole. We need to get our heads out of the sand and send messages to our governments this is not acceptable. These people should not only be shut down but should be in jail for animal cruelty and neglect. Fat pigs excuce my language but that is exactly what they are just like our governments only our government is rich fat pigs , but same mantality. I guess this is what you call capitalism , its all about the money. Great world we live in. What every happened to social consciousness.