A consignment of around 500 puppies that landed at Pearson International Airport included a horrific total of thirty-eight found dead on arrival.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said: “In the case of the shipment of puppies which arrived at Pearson Airport on June 13, all live puppies were released to the importers.
“Given the condition of some of the puppies upon arrival, CFIA staff recommended to the individual importers coming to collect their shipments that these puppies be immediately brought to a local veterinarian for appropriate care.
“The CFIA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident. As such, it cannot provide any further details until the investigation is complete.”
In a Facebook post, Ukraine International Airlines apologised for the “tragic loss of animal life” on one of its flights. “UIA is working with authorities to determine what happened and to make any changes necessary to prevent such a situation from happening again.”
Canada’s National Post reported: “Ukraine Airlines flight PS 1241 landed at Pearson International Airport on June 13, carrying 500 puppies in the cargo hold that were meant to be sold in the Toronto area, according to CIFA statement. There were around 500 [puppies] in total, 200 of which were French bulldogs, that were taken for transportation on the Borispol-Toronto flight, including 300 cages, which meant some cages contained two dogs,” the media outlet said.
“The temperature at the time of loading was over 30oC and the puppies were visibly suffering according to eyewitness accounts, with multiple crates being placed on top of each other, and some even being encased in plastic.”
The publication stated that a handler loading the aircraft in Ukraine said that many of the dogs were put into cages without the ability to even move, and without air circulation.
“The pallets were then loaded into the lower compartment of the aircraft, where air circulates very poorly.
“A video shared by a baggage handler at the time of loading shows carts with a large pile of crates containing live animals stacked high.
“This would be in direct violation of the International Air Transport Association guidelines which state that each animal should have enough space to turn around while standing, to sit and lie in a natural position,” said the National Post.
The CIFA concluded: “In general, all dogs imported into Canada must be healthy and fit to travel with no visible signs of illness when leaving their country of origin. They must have the necessary vaccines and be accompanied by the necessary export documentation which are dependent on their age and the purpose of import. CFIA veterinarians are available to provide inspection services at the Pearson Airport when requested by the CBSA.”