CLARENDON, Quebec, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- About 525 dogs allegedly living in inadequate quarters were seized from a dog-breeding kennel in Clarendon, Quebec, this weekend, authorities say.
The case is being called the largest instance of animal cruelty in the province's history, The (Montreal) Gazette reported. The raid on the kennel facility began Friday night and it took until Saturday night for rescuers to transport all the dogs to an emergency shelter set up outside Montreal.
"It was quite the logistical effort," Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International, said Sunday. "We're used to transporting animals in emergency situations, but this was a very intensive, long operation."
Aldworth said the dogs had been denied basic requirements and lacked socialization at the kennel where they were being raised. Some were being treated for various conditions, including skin ailments and breathing problems, she said.
Agriculture and Fisheries Department officials said a judge will determine whether the animals will be returned to the owner or put up for adoption, The Gazette said..
"Our primary goal is the successful prosecution of this case so we never have to return the dogs to this facility," Aldworth said.
The dog kennel's owner, Charlene Labombard of Paws "R" Us, indicated she believes the accusations are overblown, saying inspectors took the dogs over issues such as cleanliness, proper floor materials and ventilation.
"I'm losing my livelihood and I'm very upset," she said. "It just breaks my heart."
Aldworth issued an appeal to the public to donate supplies and help caring for the dogs, which ranged from puppies to full-grown and included about 30 breeds, The Gazette said.
"We're calling on Montrealers to open up their hearts and give a desperately needed second chance to these dogs," Aldworth said.