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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Freeport — the camp site that was the region’s largest community

A story of the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Burns Lake to get a pedestrian-activated light

The blind turn at the RBC crossing to get safer

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read