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

Cancelled shows and slow reopening for Revelstoke Art Gallery

The gallery has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Pure magic: live performances revived in Revelstoke

Revelstoke Arts Council hosting Guerrilla Gigs on Wednesdays all summer long

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for July 9

Jack Snoddy Archive assistant, Revelstoke Museum & Archives 120 years ago: Revelstoke… Continue reading

VIDEO: Teaching the next generation of skaters in Revelstoke

‘There’s very few sports out there where adults and children can play together’ says Adrian Giacca

Revelstoke’s City Hall wrapped in plastic

Revelstoke’s City Hall is wrapped in plastic for the time being. The… Continue reading

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read