The fate of more than 500 dogs seized from a commercial breeding facility in the Outaouais now lies in the hands of a Quebec court.
“It can take weeks to months. We hope that the matter will be resolved soon,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada.
The animals are at a temporary emergency shelter after they were taken from Paws “R” Us kennel Friday for allegedly being denied basic needs and socialization.
“It’s overwhelming — the smells, the sounds, the impact of so many animals in this space. It’s very hard to put into words the feelings that overcome you,” said Aldworth.
The kennel carries 40 breeds, selling for $300 to $500 each.
Since 1996, the family business has been operating near Shawville, about 90 km northwest of Ottawa.
“Many of the dogs that we have here are several years old, so they’ve been in that facility for a long time,” Aldworth said.
Owner Charlene Labombard maintains the animals are well-cared for.
Ottawa resident Julian, 24, went to Paws “R” Us in February 2010 and saw an eight-month-old wire hair fox terrier named Joey.
The breeder immediately showed him Joey’s hairless, pink legs.
“She said it was because of allergies. There were a few scars and marks,” Julian said Sunday.
In hindsight, he said, he should have seen red flags, but since it was his first pet, he was overly excited.
He paid $350 and renamed the pup Apollo.
The same day the puppy came home, “I had dropped the garbage bin on the floor in my kitchen. Apollo bolted out of the kitchen and hid behind my couch, shaking uncontrollably for nearly 20 minutes,” he said, adding Apollo’s overall behaviour was bizarre.
“He was very different from other dogs. He wasn’t socialized, he didn’t bark. I couldn’t bring him anywhere. He would lose his mind.”
Apollo had to be taught to climb stairs and is still afraid of other dogs and most people, he said.
Within two months, Julian said, he took the pup to the veterinarian three times, spending more than $800 on ear drops, shots, antibiotics and specialty food.
“He’s special. I love him so much.”
As for the hundreds of seized dogs, Aldworth said they could be housed in the shelter for several months.
For more information, visit hsicanada.ca