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September 26, 2008

Beyond Belief: Québec House of Horrors

Humane Society International/Canada

Few Canadians are aware that Québec, famous for its unique and fascinating historical and cultural heritage, has another, less desirable reputation: it is well-known among animal advocates as the worst region in the country for puppy mills.

On Friday, September 26, an investigation by Humane Society International/Canada, the Montreal SPCA and local law enforcement culminated in a raid on what our director of emergency services called "the most horrific conditions of any puppy mill our team has ever encountered."

Scene from a nightmare

When the team arrived on the scene, the smell of ammonia made it difficult to breathe and almost overpowered them. In one of the rooms, music was playing at unbearably loud levels to drown out the noise of the dogs’ desperate barking. Many of the animals were housed in the dark basement.

In total, the team found 110 living dogs, seven cats, one rabbit, and several dead dogs in the same cages with those who were still hanging on. Ninety percent of the dogs were emaciated, with open sores and parasites, stacked in wire cages from floor to ceiling, some hidden behind closet doors in a house of horrors. Some of the cages even held the skeletons of dogs who had passed away weeks or months before, but had been left untouched.

Survival for one; too late for another

In one of the closets, the rescuers found a dog they thought might already be dead; in terrible condition and not moving, it looked as though his body were already decomposing. Upon closer examination, the team discovered that he was in fact alive, but too far gone: euthanasia was the only option for this tortured, innocent soul. He died at least surrounded by people who loved and mourned him.

A mother dog the group pulled out of one cage had a single tiny puppy with her; his body was so cold, they feared that he, too, must be lost. Our veterinary team immediately sprang to action and warmed his cold body. Fortunately, this baby was eventually revived and is expected to survive. 

A brighter future

Out in the sunshine and fresh air, many for the first time ever, the liberated animals are now on their way to the Montreal SPCA, where that organization and HSI/Canada have set up an emergency shelter to temporarily house the 118 survivors of this tragic scene. HSI will fund their care until a permanent, loving home can be found for each and every one; your donation will go to help these hapless victims and others like them.

How you can help

You can make a difference for these helpless animals who have never known love, play, good health or proper care. Please contact the Montreal SPCA if you can provide a foster or permanent home for a dog, cat or rabbit, or are able to volunteer at the organization's emergency facility.

Please also take action now to help shut down puppy mills permanently by pledging to help end this cycle of cruelty; then donate to help HSI put a permanent end to this inhumane industry. With so many homeless, deserving pets available in shelters, there is no reason for any dog to suffer the way these animals did for so long.

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