Humane Society International/Canada escued more than 400 dogs from a rural town in Quebec. The animals were seized and removed after investigations indicated dogs were not receiving proper care.
Credits: (Kathy Milani / Humane Society)
"There was no way they could have orchestrated two transport trucks and all that personnel in that short time frame," Nicole Labombard, part owner of Paws "R" Us, said.
The kennel is located in Clarendon, Que., about 80 km northwest of Ottawa.No charges have been laid.
Labombard told QMI Agency on Sunday that she believes a disgruntled former client, along with others in the animal rights community, are behind the raid.
The Labombard family kennel was raided Friday afternoon by the Quebec government, local police and the Humane Society International Canada.
Labombard said two large transport trucks showed up at her kennel after a routine inspection earlier that day and seized all 527 dogs on her property.
The humane society said that conditions in the kennel were some of the most inhumane their animal rescue team has ever encountered.Guy Auclair, an inspector with the provincial government, said "wehave judged that there were numerous offences with regards to the health and safety of the animals."
However, Labombard said her dogs were properly cared for and that when working with that many animals, some of them will get sick.
"You're always going to have something that you'll be treating," she said. "It's like a hospital; there is always somebody that isn't perfect."
Labombard said she thinks a former client, Lorie Gordon, who was upset with a dog she had purchased from Paws "R" Us, is to blame for the raid.
Gordon told QMI on Sunday that she is "trilled" Paws "R" Us was raided.She said the two dogs she received from the Labombard kennel got sick and had to be put down.
"I called Paws "R" Us and told them the dogs have something in their genes," Gordon said.
The black Labrador Retriever Gordon bought from the kennel in 2002 was delivered to her at a nearby Tim Hortons, which she said she thought was strange.
"But this was 2002 and I knew nothing of puppy mills," she said.Within two years, the dog had to be euthanized because of severe hip problems, Gordon said.
The Labombard family offered to replace the dog for free and gave Gordon a Golden Retriever in 2004.Within a year, Gordon's second dog started having seizures.
"He had epilepsy," she said. "He had no quality of life and he was brain damaged."
Gordon said she doesn't have the power to shut down a kennel by herself.
"Did I conspire with anybody? No," she said. "Did I work with people and give them information that I had? Yes, I did. Look at what it took to finally get this placed seized."
The Labombards successfully sued Gordon for defamation after she started criticizing the family's business over the Internet. Gordon said the case is under appeal.
All of the dogs seized on Friday are in the care of ANIMA-Quebec, anon-profit animal welfare organization, but the animals are still considered property of the Labombards.
A judge will decide whether to liberate the animals to start the adoption process or release them back into the care of the kennel owners.
Labombard wouldn't confirm that she will fight for her dogs in court but said that her family spoke with a lawyer Sunday.
"At the moment we are quite a little set back," she said. "We are trying to regroup and put our plans together. It is quite an emotional thing to go through."
The historic seizure happened as the provincial government prepares to release its updated animal welfare regulations.Animal rights groups say they hope the legislation increases fines for those guilty of animal cruelty and includes the possibility of jail time.
Alanna Devine, a lawyer with the SPCA in Montreal, said that Quebec is still known as the puppy mill capital of Canada because it has the country's most lenient laws with regards to the treatment of cats and dogs.
"We have lax laws and it enables people who are looking to use dogs and cats for commercial purposes," she said.