Some families in Quebec are mourning the loss of their beloved pets after a fire at a Montreal-area kennel killed 18 dogs over the weekend.

The fire, which caused close to $70,000 in damages, broke out at a dog kennel in St.-Lazare, Que. on Saturday.

By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, most of the animals had died.

Michel Cohen, who left his dog Dexter at the kennel before heading to the Dominican Republic for a Christmas vacation, said his family came home to learn the tragic news.

“We are completely devastated because he was such an integral part of our family,” Cohen told CTV News Wednesday.

“The happiness and joy he brought to our family was exceptional.”

Fire officials do not know what caused the blaze but believe it was likely electrical.

Nick Zevgolis, the owner of the kennel, says he was visiting a relative when the fire broke out.

He told CTV that he knows there is little he can do to make up for the loss.

“They lost family members, I get that. I held all these dogs in my arms,” an emotional Zevgolis said.

“I just hope for the children, especially for the very young ones. It’s incomprehensible to me so I can only imagine it for them,” he said.

Zevgolis, a dog trainer who has owned the kennel for past 10 years, said he never guaranteed that the dogs would be monitored at all times.

“I’ve never represented myself as being here 24/7. I work by myself, all of my clients know that,” he said.

But Cohen said he feels misled by the owner and is considering legal action.

“We're still trying to understand how it's possible that 18 dogs were left unattended, unsupervised,” he said.

With a report from CTV’s Vanessa Lee