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

CFIA investigating death of 38 dogs on Toronto-bound flight from Ukraine

Approximately 500 puppies landed at Pearson International Airport

TORONTO — 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 in 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.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

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

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

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

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

Most Read