Dogs sit near a Ukrainian State emblem in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 7, 2014. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after dozens of dogs were found dead or sick on a flight from Ukraine at a Toronto airport. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Dmitry Lovetsky

Investigation launched after deaths of 38 dogs Toronto-bound flight from Ukraine

Ukraine International Airlines apologized for the ‘tragic loss of animal life’ on one of its flights

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after dozens of dogs were found dead or sick on a flight from Ukraine at a Toronto airport.

Approximately 500 puppies landed at Pearson International Airport last Saturday, according to the agency. Thirty-eight were found dead on arrival, and many others were dehydrated, weak or vomiting.

“CFIA officials are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and will determine next steps once the investigation is complete,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

In a Facebook post Friday, Ukraine International Airlines apologized for the “tragic loss of animal life” on one of its flights.

“UIA is working with local authorities to determine what happened and to make any changes necessary to prevent such a situation from occurring again.”

The airline did not immediately respond to questions about the incident or its policies for transporting animals.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Canadian branch of Humane Society International, called on authorities to get to the bottom of how so many puppies were transported at such high temperatures, possibly in violation of industry animal safety standards.

“It raises a lot of questions. And I definitely think the Canadian public wants answers to these questions,” said Aldworth.

“Responsible airlines will not transfer transport animals in extreme heat, because they know there is a risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and even suffocation.

“And I would question what airline has the capacity to put 500 dogs on one plane.”

Aldworth said the circumstances bear all the hallmarks of a puppy mill.

“My organization has been working for more than a decade to shut down puppy mills in Canada. And we are devasted to see that animals continue to be imported from equally horrific facilities and other parts of the world into this country,” she said.

“People are looking for (pets) on the internet, they’re buying sight unseen, and they’re importing cruelty into this country when we have so much of it to deal with right here at home.”

The CFIA spokesperson said the agency has rigorous standards for the importation of animals to Canada to prevent the spread of disease.

Penalties for failing to meet these requirements can include removal of the animal, fines or legal action, the spokesperson said.

Federal regulations also prohibit carriers from transporting animals in a way that would cause injury or undue suffering, the spokesperson added.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glasses and funds raised for Shuswap non-profits

Women Who Wine hold hybrid community giving event

Violent wanted man may be in Okanagan

RCMP asking for public’s help in locating Roy Andrew

Morning Start: Polar bears don’t have white skin or fur

Your morning start for Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

COVID 19: Secwépemc Nation calls for better notification processes

Chiefs say alerts for First Nations bands from province, Interior Health flawed

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Most Read