More than 500 dogs seized from farm in Quebec
Published Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:15PM EDT
Authorities seized more than 500 dogs from a Quebec kennel in what could represent the largest animal cruelty case in that province's history.
Inspectors say they confiscated the dogs from the Paws "R" Us Kennel, a dog breeding facility in Clarendon Township located about 90 minutes northwest of Ottawa.
Guy Auclair, a spokesman for the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said it's the largest such seizure ever in the province.
Hundreds of dogs of varying breeds and ages were found at the property without sufficient food and water, officials allege. Many of the kennel dogs were reportedly suffering from skin and respiratory problems.
"We have had this kind of situation before, but (with) a lower number of animals," Auclair told The Canadian Press.
The dogs are now under the care of Humane Society International.
Paws "R " Us is owned by members of the Labombard family, who have been running the facility for more than 16 years.
Co-owner Nicole Labombard said that the confiscated dogs were not mistreated.
"There's a veterinarian that visits the facility every two weeks and vaccinates my puppies," she told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview Saturday.
Labombard says the facility has automated feeding equipment on every animal pen and that the visiting veterinarian would have told her if the puppies were malnourished.
Officials inspected the puppy farm three years ago and didn't have any complaints with the facility, she said adding that officials didn't visit again until Friday's inspection.
Weeping over the phone, Nicole Labombard alleged that the recent seizure by ANIMA-Quebec was premeditated.
"Transport trucks from out of town came to my home to take the dogs on Friday and [Saturday]," she told CTVNews.ca. "It all happened way too fast."
Calls to ANIMA-Quebec were not immediately returned.
Auclair said the investigation into the facility is ongoing and charges could be laid against Paws "R " Us Kennel.
With files from The Canadian Press