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This Shih Tzu was one of several puppies brought in from an Ontario puppy mill a couple of weeks ago. This one and another have already been adopted out while the rest were transferred to Speaking of Dogs Rescue.

Other than smelling terrible from cage living in a way no puppy should be smelling, they came in pretty healthy and it's no surprise how quickly they are getting adopted.

Does this Border Collie look like she's done a bit too much partying or what? Shanda has this crazy expression on her face which reminds me of the student president at my high school when I was in grade 13. He was a headbanger who always held court behind the portables with a big buddha hanging off his lip and a mickey of something or other in his jean jacket's secret inside pocket (which I think he sewed himself).

Despite outward appearances, though, Shanda is actually a very nice girl. She's not wild and crazy at all and would make a very down to earth pet for someone.

Shanda has been transferred Speaking of Dogs Rescue.

This big German Shepherd mix has a real presence with his tiger stripes and all. When he first goes outside, he's quite excited but after a few minutes, he settles down and there's a quiet, polite demeanor about him which makes him seem contemplative. He's like a poet who gets mistaken for a bouncer.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

This Jack Russell Terrier who was brought in a little over two weeks covered in bite punctures has mostly recovered from his injuries and is doing quite well physically. It's harder to say what kind of long term impact the fight he was in has had on his behaviour.

When he meets with other dogs, he seems quite friendly and if the other dog is friendly as well, then no problem. But if the other dog gives off any negative signals, this guy immediately responds with snarls and aggressive barks. Can't tell if he's always been like this - and maybe this is how he into a fight in the first place - or if this is a recently learned protective behaviour from having been beat up so bad.

Either way, it may take some focused effort on the part of any owner before this guy is completely relaxed around other dogs but lying in someone's lap, he's affectionate and content and that takes no effort at all.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Luv the eye mask.

Zorro is a well behaved Lab mix with good energy. He's quite food motivated so training should be a cinch.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Very nice female Lab. If you're interested, keep your eyes on the adoption page. When she comes up, I think she's going to be snatched up quick.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Holy moly this Golden Retriever pup is hyper. Nuthin' a stick won't solve.

Update, 1:02 p.m.: Wow, some of these guys are going fast. This pup is now adopted.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Servjavascript:void(0)ices.

Sometimes writing politicians does actually get results. I got this email back from city Councillor Glen De Baeremaeker in response to an email I sent him previous to the unanimous council vote banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in retail outlets in Toronto.

A big thanks to everyone who wrote their councillors or otherwise publicly supported the ban on puppy mill pups. This is all your good work.

A Victory For All Animals

Dear Friends:

Yesterday was an extremely victorious day for animals everywhere!

As you may know, Toronto City Council UNANIMOUSLY voted to ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet stores in Toronto, thereby curtailing puppy mills. This is a glorious win and sets a precedent for other municipalities to do the same.

Thank you very much for writing in and showing your support for the ban!

Your councillors have listened to you and now Toronto is a better place for all those who love animals and want to ensure that our feline and canine friends are treated humanely.

I am grateful for your dedication and am thrilled that Toronto is such a leader. I will continue to advocate for animal rights and conservation efforts (whether it is protecting our pets, banning shark fins or creating a Rouge Valley National Park) and look forward to achieving more victories with your support.


Glenn De Baeremaeker
Councillor, Ward 38
Scarborough Centre

Fanny is a Siberian Husky mix pup mixed with St. Bernard or maybe just the head of a St. Bernard or at least they went to the same hair stylist.

This most excellent pup just went into adoption on Wednesday and I doubt he's going to last the weekend so if you're interested ...

Update Sept. 23, 7:50 pm.: Adopted.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

From the new owner of Shamus, now Henry:

He loves his new home now, everything just needed some time to adjust. I am also happy that we adopted him, he has changed our life dramatically and positively.

Jenny is a lovely little Beagle who's got the best Snoopy ears I've ever seen. She's a very sweet dog so it's not a big surprise she was adopted out yesterday after just a couple days in adoption.

Toronto city council passed a by-law this afternoon requiring pet stores as well as all other retail outlets within city limits, including flea markets, who want to continue selling animals to only source them from rescues and shelters.

From The Star:

“The goal is to stop animal cruelty,” said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker. “I think this is a wonderful day in the city of Toronto for anyone who loves cats, dogs, puppies, and wants to ensure animals are treated humanely.”

That's two strikes against puppy mills this past week.

Thank you Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker for leading the charge on this issue. It's about time someone at city hall had the decency and put in the effort to see this law through.

Now if only we could do something about those puppy mill peddling pricks on Kijiji.

(Continued from here.)

Cloud has been at Toronto Animal Services South for over two months now and he still doesn't like going outside. He knows enough to do his bathroom breaks outside but he's like the winter camper who reluctantly exits the warmth of his cabin to find a sheltered spot, pees and scrambles back in as quickly as possible.

I've been "walking" Cloud pretty well once a week since he arrived and it's the same thing every time. I put the leash on him. I half encourage, half drag him out of his kennel. Once he's out of his kennel, he's okay about making his way to the exit. We go out, turn the corner of the building. Cloud sniffs, pees, sniffs, pees, sometimes poops then he turns around and wants to go back inside.

I try to make him linger a bit, smell the flowers and all that, but he's a strong boy and if try to keep him outside against his wishes, his anxiety level shoots up, he gets frantic and it's like playing tug of war with a tractor and what would it accomplish anyway other than producing an even more stressed out dog and a dislocated shoulder on my part.

Cloud runs/drags me back to the door and if I don't open it quickly enough, he starts panting and scratching at it demanding immediate entrance.

I'm no psychiatrist but I think Cloud is an agoraphobe. Seriously.

Of course I feel sorry for him but I can't help thinking there would be lots of applicants for this guy if he were presented properly. Think of all the people who would like to be dog owners but don't get a dog because they don't have time to walk or exercise one. Cloud is perfect for those people. He's about as close to being a trouble free teddy bear as any living creature could possibly be. Feed him, make sure he's got water, take him outside to the backyard for literally five minutes or less a few times a day and the rest of time just set him up on the bed or sofa and he'll be perfectly content.

Or at least he seems content staring out at the world as it passes him by. Who knows what inner turmoil, if any, he endures.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

(Continued from here. The previous Paws R Us post was getting too long. November 24 court decision against Paws R Us posted here.)

Latest update, October 12.

If you want to help the Paws R Us dogs, Humane Society International has set up a website here.

September 21, 12:00 p.m.

Google translated from TVA Nouvelles:

"The family meant well," said the lawyer.

"Barf", said I.

September 21, 8:51 p.m.

Meanwhile, CTV reports that it's costing $6000/day to look after the rescued dogs and that one hundred fifty of the dogs require round the clock care. CTV also reports that the maximum penalty for animal abuse of this nature in Quebec is a fine of $1200 for a first violation and $3600 for a repeat violation. Jail time is not a possibility.

$1200. That's the penalty they face after all this. The Labombards should be able to recover this cost of doing business in about ten minutes once all the hubbub has died down and they restock. Let's hope the new animal welfare laws coming down the pipe in Quebec kick in soon otherwise we might as well be placing bets in an online pool about when these puppy pushers will be putting up for sale ads in Kijiji again.

September 22, 9:00 p.m.

Some photos of dogs with ailments from the HSI Facebook page:

Eye infection


Unsocialized and frightened



Skin inflammation

Severe matting

Today Jamieson and Pet Valu both announced they made significant donations to the rescue effort, Jamieson with dog beds and treats and Pet Valu with a $20,000 donation. Giving is the best way to advertise.

September 22, 9:00 p.m.

(Thanks to a heads up from a commenter) Ninety puppies have been born so far from the rescued Paws R Us dogs.

"We have a lot of puppies here and a lot more puppies coming," said Rebecca Aldworth, the executive director of Humane Society International Canada.

So that's 90 added to the 527 makes 617 dogs so far from Paws R Us.

October 12, 8:00 p.m.

From Canadian Veterinary Medical Association:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is aware of media reports of the alleged unethical and abusive activities of a commercial dog breeding operation near Shawville, Quebec. The CVMA encourages the animal protection authorities in Quebec to conduct a thorough investigation into this facility and the alleged incidents.

The CVMA has concerns with commercial breeding facilities that meet the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC) definition of a ‘puppy mill’. A puppy mill is defined as a high-volume, substandard dog breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed-breed dogs to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:

· Sub-standard health and/or environmental issues;
· Sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
· Sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
· Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background.

More here.

Shetland Sheepdog puppy goes berserkers and slays coffee cup.

Please turn off the cute gas. Ya killin me.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

According to an OSPCA volunteer on Facebook, Rocky has been adopted.

(repost from July 2009)

Moral relativism is a philosophical term that says there are no such things as universal moral truths and that morality is solely dependent upon the society that creates it. Let's take capital punishment, for example. In some countries, like China or Iran, capital punishment is widely accepted by the state and by the populace as an ethical and just way of dealing with convicted criminals. Here in Canada, on the other hand, capital punishment is not practiced and the majority of the populace would say that is a good thing. Then you have somewhere like the United States which isn't all that united on this particular issue with some states busy filling up body bags while others just incarcerate for a very long time. Everyone thinks their own practice is morally right and everyone thinks differing practices are morally reprehensible.

I confess. I am a moral relativist. I don't believe there are any universal laws when it comes to ethics. I don't believe there's some cosmic cop out there who says we must treat people or animals or anything else on our dear old planet with a certain level of dignity and care. I don't think the universe actually gives a damn about what happens to any creature, if it lives or dies, suffers or flourishes. Look what happened to the dinosaurs. Did the universe shed a big moral tear for their mass extinction? I doubt it. The universe yawned and then went on and created and wiped out countless more species. As it might very well do with our own (unless we do it to ourselves first).

So, when I examine my own morality, I don't pretend it's based on any universal truths because as far as morality goes, the universe is about as caring as that rock sitting in my front yard. Even though I think I'm a reasonable and logical person, I understand that my morality isn't based on "truth". It's based on feelings. Yikes. I know. If we all went around dictating morals based on emotions, wouldn't this world be in a huge mess? Yes and that's why the world is in a huge mess and I apologize for my contribution to that mess.

Though I don't believe any morality I hold sacred is a universal absolute, I do know it's the one that works for me. This means that when I apply my moral template to someone else's behavior and find it less than appealing, it isn't me saying that I am right and the other person is wrong. It's simply me saying, I'm against him. I don't like what he is doing. In some cases, I detest what he is doing. It's abhorrent to me.

Which brings me to commercial dog breeding facilities and their place in a subjective, ever-changing, moral landscape. First, let's look at the spectrum of human/dog relationships. Let's put at one end a place like Toronto, for example, where for the most part, people treat dogs with a certain amount of care, some even considering them to be part of the family. At the other end of the spectrum, we'll put somewhere like Shenyang, China where I once lived for a year, and saw such things as three workers at a university, publicly and in broad daylight, tie a dog to a tree and repeatedly jab it with a pocket knife, making it cry in agony until it bled to death. Obviously, the societal mores concerning dogs between these two places are separated by a wide gulf. Along this spectrum, the societal mores that allow commercial dog breeding facilities to exist and to even flourish, lie somewhere in between.

Of course I'm using the term "commercial dog breeding" because the on-line community has been told in no uncertain terms by a small claims court judge that we are no longer allowed to use the other term anymore in describing certain businesses. But regardless of what any small claims court judge determines and regardless of what commercial dog breeding facilities want to call themselves these days, they still are what they are.

These businesses fail to realize that it's not the naming of their facilities that they need to be worried about. It's what they do. Public attitudes are changing towards the raising of dogs in a manner similar to livestock. Sure, the businesses may be legal and/or unprosecutable in some provinces and, sure, they can call themselves what they want, call themselves Smoochy Poochie Heavenly Happy Farms if they want and sue everyone who disagrees with that term, but the businesses still are what they are.

Thirty years ago, growing dogs in an environment where they spend the vast majority of their lives in cages or pens with very limited human interaction, little or no exposure to the outdoors and few introductions to varying mental stimuli may have been okay, but now, not so much. It's no longer just a matter of physical health, though of course that's still a major concern, it's also a matter of psychological and behavioural health. It's bad enough when an individual is found out to be denying a dog a decent living environment through carelessness or neglect but when it's a business purposely doing it for profit, the distaste is even stronger. These commercial dog breeding facilities are flying in the face of a changing public attitude towards the proper treatment of animals. More and more people are loathing the idea of supporting businesses, from solely-for-profit breeders to certain live animal selling pet stores, who would treat a possible future family member as a mere commodity, valued only for its money making potential.

None of this makes any sense, of course, to someone who has little or no empathy for dogs in general, for someone whose morality doesn't swing that way. For them, dogs will always be viewed as simple property, easy to acquire, easy to dispose of, easy to sell and make a profit from (well, easy if they can take the heat of people talking behind their backs, writing about them, calling them all sorts of nasty names). These newfangled ideas surrounding the care of dogs must seem totally alien to them. To talk to them about a dog's quality of life must sound ludicrous, clownish. It would be like talking about the quality of life for a table.

So when someone points a finger at them and accuses them of moral outrages against what they consider to be a mere commodity, of course they must think that it's a ridiculous insult and of course they must feel wronged but in this morally relativistic world, where there are no absolutes, it's not that they've been wronged. It's that they've been left behind. Society, at least certain segments of western society, are moving along to a different place on the moral spectrum. We've become more tolerant of some things and less tolerant of other things. One thing we've become less tolerant of is people who diminish the lives of animals for profit.

Businesses that engage in the bottom line driven, manufacturing of dogs, will need to change their business models - not just the name of their type of business - to something more palatable. More and more people are speaking out against them. More and more people are offended by them. More and more people will one day push society along to the point where present day minimal standards of dog care in a commercial dog breeding facility will no longer be tolerated, morally or legally.

The ever changing nature of moral relativity in our society really must suck for the ones who end up holding the slimeball label. Such is life.

No dogs in the bed is the law in our house and we've managed to enforce that rule pretty well ... until now, when we find ...

The bed is quite high off the ground as in one day I may require an escalator to get up to it myself. None of our other gangly, clumsy dogs would have been able to get into it even if we let them. Simone, who at forty five pounds is way shrimpier than any other dog I've ever owned, manages to clamber onto it somehow so I'm wondering if she's got teleporting abilities I wasn't made aware of.

Simone is our new foster. If anyone cares to guess at her breeding, please do because I have no idea. I know she's being called a German Shepherd cross but that just seems to be the default designation for a mutt not classified as a Lab cross. She's got some brindling on her legs, a white stripey patch on her chest and the tips of her feet are white. Otherwise, she's mostly dark brown, dark enough that you'd think her fur was black. She arrived at TAS South from Hamilton Animal Control about a month ago, a terrified little girl cowering at the back of her kennel anytime someone approached. In the weeks since her arrival, her anxieties have calmed down at the shelter with daily exposure to all the staff and volunteers. She would've gone into adoption but as a result of her health check, it was discovered she has heartworm so now she's being treated for it. She had her first injection two weeks ago. In a couple of weeks, she'll be getting her second and third injections.

For the next six weeks, then, her exercise must be severely limited to protect her against embolisms (obstruction of arteries) as the worms in her heart die and disintegrate into the bloodstream. (In case you're interested in heartworms - and in being totally grossed out - here's a youtube video showing a vet removing heartworms from a dog in surgery. I'd embed the vid in this post except that it's seriously too gag inducing).

I think restricting activity includes not letting Simone high jump, or whatever her technique is to get onto the bed, so we'll have keep the bedroom door closed from now on. Simone will have to make do with the couches downstairs and the multiple dog beds around the house. Poor thing.

When I first brought her home, Simone was stressed out. She paced around the house, sniffing every nook and cranny and couldn't get settled. She actually reminded me of Rocky when he had his anxiety attacks. After about two hours, though, she calmed right down.

Then I brought her upstairs and she got stressed out again. Again, two hours later, she settled.

And now, five days later, she apparently thinks she owns the house. Luckily, Smitten doesn't mind much except when we humans coo over Simone like a new baby and then Smitten rolls her big eyes and groans: Give me an f'n break.

The two of them started trying to play and rough-house a few times now and I wish we could have let them but play wasn't going to happen with the threat of worm bits clogging up Simone's arteries. That's too bad because I think Simone is a good match for Smitten's energy level and Smitten would do a good job of bringing Simone out of her shell a bit more.

The whole time she's been here, I haven't heard her make a peep of noise, except for the clacking of her nails on the floor. She does well in a crate. She's shy but other than that has no problems with other dogs and I don't think she's much interested in cats. She's a good sleeper and not a bother in the mornings for those humans who like to sleep in.

Simone is still a bit skittish around me especially right after I've been away at work for the day and return. She greets me at the door like she's happy to see me and then she runs away when I reach out to pet her. A couple of minutes later, she approaches again and I make monster claw hands at her and she knows now that this means pets so she inches closer. And then, of course, it's all about the cuddles because that's what she does best.

I'll see how she is in a few weeks but I suspect Simone will always be one of those dogs who will be her owner's dog. It's great to have a dog who is a social butterfly, who walks up to every stranger on the assumption that they're immediate best friend but there's also something special about having a dog who discriminates and prefers your company over anyone else'. Kinda makes you feel special. Simone will be very good at making someone feel special.

(This post last updated Sept. 19, 11:37 p.m. Newer updates here. Nov.24 court decision against Paws R Us post here.)

If you want to help the Paws R Us dogs, Humane Society International has set up a website here.

They are still involved in a lawsuit against one of their former customers, Lorie Gordon, after she went on-line and called them a puppy mill but to many people it comes as no surprise that Paws R Us, proudly self-proclaimed to be Canada's largest commercial dog breeder, was raided yesterday by ANIMA-Quebec and Humane Society International Canada.

The Ottawa Citizen reports there were four hundred dogs found at Paws R Us though reports from other individuals involved in the raid have indicated there may have been as many as eight hundred dogs. Either number is believable given that witnesses in previous trials involving Paws R Us have testified to there being as many as 80 different breeds of dogs at the facility.

From 2009 trial testimony:

Defendant’s witness Daniel Davenport testified that he carries officer-of-the-peace status in Quebec. He is an investigating officer of the Montreal SPCA and has been for twenty years. He testified that he visited the facilities of Paws-R-Us five times until he was refused entry in February 2005. He explained that in Quebec there are several organizations that govern the breeding of dogs. He testified that during his inspections of Paws-R-Us, he did note a number of health concerns, such as open sores on the dogs, extremely dirty kennel areas, and over-crowding. He testified that with each visit he would examine paper records and from the documents could say that there was 80-85 different breeds of adult dogs. When asked about the number of puppies, Mr. Davenport testified that from May 1999 to March 2000 he received reports from the attending veterinarian of vaccinations of 412 five-week old puppies that were followed until they were 12 weeks old. He also testified that on one day in April 2000 the attending veterinarian reported vaccinating 312 puppies 6-weeks of age or older. Mr. Davenport never testified that he counted all of the dogs in all of the buildings at Paws-R-Us. He did state that at the times that he inspected the operation, there were many dogs and they were kept in sub-standard conditions. When asked if they were a puppy mill, he responded that in his professional opinion Paws-R-Us was a puppy mill at the times that he did his inspections. He further testified that just because he believed that they were a puppy mill, in Quebec that is not enough to file charges. He explained that in Quebec the test that they must meet is found in the Criminal Code of Canada and the dogs must be abused to the point of life-threatening conditions. Mr. Davenport was asked to confirm that he believed that Paws-R-Us was a puppy mill and he confirmed in examination and in cross-examination that Paws-R-Us was a puppy mill.

In that trial, despite all the evidence confirming the obvious, the presiding judge somehow still found it necessary to declare Gordon guilty of defamation and awarded $14000 to Paws R Us. Gordon has since been involved in a lengthy appeal process against Paws R Us at a not insignificant personal cost.

If nothing else, Paws R Us was brazen in peddling their wares and never saw anything wrong with what they were doing. Here's a comment I received from one of their "supporters" after a blog post concerning their business:

It is people like you that dont take anything you read online with a grain of salt that cause most of our worlds problems. A judge is a judge for a reason, if after looking at all of the information on both sides that was his ruling then he was probably right. Just because someone has a certain number of dogs does not mean it is a puppy mill. It is the conditions and treatment of the animals that define a puppy mill, so as long as they treat their dogs well and keep them in good health why should someone that cannot afford $800-$1000 for a puppy be able to have the right dog for them at a better price?

Oh I see. Paws R Us was breeding puppies in the hundreds because they were doing it out of the goodness of their hearts for the benefit of poor people.

I suppose it's minutely debatable whether or not a handful of employees could possibly "treat their dogs well" when there are four hundred or more dogs to look after but, regardless, a judge somewhere disagreed with the "in good health" part, at least disagreed enough to allow Friday's search and seizure.

According to the Labombards, the inspectors told them they were seizing the dogs because of cobwebs on the ceiling, because the floors weren’t tiled and the kennel didn’t have proper ventilation.

Really? That's it? A judge would do that? I somehow doubt it especially in Quebec where running a puppy mill is really no problem and the law only gets involved when "the test that they must meet is found in the Criminal Code of Canada and the dogs must be abused to the point of life-threatening conditions". Call me biased but I'm going to guess that whoever issued the search and seizure warrant was shown enough evidence to sway him or her to think that "the dogs must be abused to the point of life-threatening conditions".

Maybe we'll find out how strong the evidence against Paws R Us is this time if HSI-Canada releases video footage of the raid.

From The Citizen: “I’m losing my livelihood and I’m very upset,” Labombard said, trying to hold back tears. “It just breaks my heart.”

But that's hardly recompense for the tears you've caused.

Update Sept.17, 12:46 p.m.: Turns out it was Humane Society International who was involved with the raid, not HSUS. There was also assistance from the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society, Red Rover, and the Ottawa Humane Society.

The HSI-Canada website has more details on the raid. From their site:

Humane Society International/Canada, in partnership with the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec and local law enforcement, rescued more than 400 dogs and puppies from a large-scale commercial breeding facility in Outaouais, Québec. The animals were seized and removed after multiple investigations indicated dogs were not receiving proper care.

“By far, this was the largest commercial breeding facility, involving some of the most inhumane conditions, that our Animal Rescue Team has ever encountered in Canada,” said Lauren Scott, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. “Hundreds of dogs were denied their most basic needs and proper care and lacked adequate socialization.”

The seizure followed an inspection by authorities in which numerous infractions were observed in regards to the security, and welfare of the animals.

Update Sept.17, 5:58 p.m.: Now the number of seized dogs, according to the Canadian Press is over 500, making it the largest puppy mill seizure ever in Canada. Many of the dogs were reported to be suffering from skin and respiratory problems.

And look at this: "The investigation is ongoing and charges could be laid against the operators of the puppy mill, Auclair said. A puppy mill! Someone forgot to tell him that Paws R Us is not a puppy mill. It's a commercial dog breeder. But what was it the Bard said? A puppy mill by any other name would reek as foul.

A lot of people are wondering why Paws R Us had been able to stay in business for so long given their notorious reputation. But, as others who have tried taking them to task in the past, the burden of proof was difficult to obtain. From one of the people involved in gathering evidence to obtain a warrant for yesterday's seizure:

They needed MANY more dogs out to prove it. And they had to be of various breeds and ages. And it had to be done in a certain way otherwise it left loopholes for them to slide thru. The dogs had to go straight to a vet from the mill. Otherwise they could have said that any of the issues with the dogs were the owner's fault. As Lorie knows even [epileptic] seizures could be explained away as the new owner's fault for hitting them on the head. So they had to go straight to a reputable vet "as is" to be seen and documented. So no baths prior, no feeding prior, no stops in anyone's home prior.

Also, from the Canadian Press article: [Quebec] has long been considered the puppy mill capital of North America, with an estimated 800 unregulated breeding operations in Montreal alone. Quebec was named "the best province to be an animal abuser" in the 2011 annual report prepared by the U.S.-based Animal Legal Defence Fund.

Between cleaning up the atrocious Berger Blanc animal killing mess in Montreal and yesterday's Paws R Us bust, maybe Quebec is on its way to ridding itself of that ignoble moniker.

CTV has some video.

Update Sept.18, 12:45 a.m.: A rescue shelter worker posts on Montreal Dog Blog about the seizure operation at Paws R Us.

I held my breath all week knowing something was brewing but not being told where until the very last minute.

You should know this happens a lot. Mill owners get a warning to clean up and if they pass inspection … basic food, water and shelter , raids are called off. Of course after the authorities leave the premises the misery returns.

Perhaps the authorities will pursue this as a criminal case after all.

Photos from the seizure, care of Toronto Star.

Update Sept.18, 4:03 p.m.: Video, care of Humane Society International Canada, of some of the seized dogs at their temporary shelter.

Update Sept.18, 9:51 p.m.: The Labombards, like any good corporation, are starting to fight back against the tarnishing of their brand name. In this Sun article/video, the owner of Paws R Us claims her family is a victim of a "setup" and she thinks a former customer, Lorie Gordon, is behind the whole thing.

The Labombards and Gordon may not be on speaking terms, especially since the former is suing the latter for defamation, but I'm thinking the chances of Gordon being the main reason for the seizure is about as likely as the chair I'm sitting on being the incarnation of Elvis Presley. But what do I know?

Update Sept.18, 10:56 p.m.: From Montreal Dog Blog.

I really wasn’t angry until then. I was too busy caring for dogs. The ones the person on the TV claimed to care about.

The ones who are covered in sores, making their skin raw and swollen. The golden retriever who cannot lift her head to look me in the eye in fear of what she might see. The cocker spaniel with green mucus flowing out of his eyes, the tiny pom on IV fluids fighting to breath.

I held her dogs today. The whippet that cried in the crook of my arms and didn’t want to let go, the bichon who was covered in his feces, the little yorkie with the bad limp.

I cried with her dogs today. The bernese whose babies were stillborn, the schnauzer with the dead eyes who was brave enough to come to the front of her crate, the small Australian shepherd mom and pup who I put next to a sunny window as they watched the goings on outside with disbelief. It’s my understanding this morning is the first time they saw daylight.

And from the Humane Society International Canada Facebook page, photos from the seizure:

Update Sept.19, 2:00 p.m.: From Ottawa Sun,

Ottawa resident Julian, 24, went to Paws “R” Us in February 2010 and saw an eight-month-old wire hair fox terrier named Joey.

The breeder immediately showed him Joey’s hairless, pink legs.

“She said it was because of allergies. There were a few scars and marks,” Julian said Sunday.

In hindsight, he said, he should have seen red flags, but since it was his first pet, he was overly excited.

He paid $350 and renamed the pup Apollo.

The same day the puppy came home, “I had dropped the garbage bin on the floor in my kitchen. Apollo bolted out of the kitchen and hid behind my couch, shaking uncontrollably for nearly 20 minutes,” he said, adding Apollo’s overall behaviour was bizarre.

“He was very different from other dogs. He wasn’t socialized, he didn’t bark. I couldn’t bring him anywhere. He would lose his mind.”

Update Sept.19, 11:37 p.m.: Adoptions of Paws R Us dogs could begin as early as next week.

Quebec Agriculture Minister, Pierre Corbeil, says charges will be laid against Paws R Us within 90 days.

More at CTV.

Video from Humane Society International on the seizure:

Updates continued here (sorry, this post is getting too long).

(Cathrine is living in Bangladesh right now and occasionally writes about her canine encounters in that country)

Progoti Sarani is one of the busiest roads in Dhaka. Technically the six lane freeway to the airport, it is usually host to eight or nine ribbons of traffic ignoring all the laws that apply to cars, including many of the laws of physics.

This morning, the road was so jammed that Ali Hossain drove his motorcycle across the meridian and down the parking lane on the other side to get to work.

It was thus that he saw a young dog with a huge cut on his head struggling to climb out of a deep, filthy sewerage ditch. Ali threw his motorcycle aside and ran back to help the him. But the dog was terrified and injured, thrashing around, trying to avoid Ali, climb and protect his hindquarters all at once.

Several times, Ali called out to the dozens of passers by for help. Without an exception, they swore at him, called him crazy, and hurried by on the other side of the sidewalk. In the end, Ali got the dog out without help.

They both stank: Ali was sewerage from head to toe, and so was the dog. The dog could not stand, and had several wounds on its body, most likely from a collision with one of the many outlaw buses that drive that road. There was no way Ali could get him on a motorcycle, so he dragged him to the side of the road, and raced for help.

It took almost an hour to get back, because we needed a car, a dog crate, blankets and a muzzle. The dog, now in shock, was right where he had been left, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers who had done nothing. In fairness, if anyone approached him, he bared his teeth and screamed at them.

Fortunately, when we put the crate down in front of him, he saw a chance to get into a safe, protected place, and dragged himself in without help.

It took another ninety minutes to creep through the gridlock to the veterinarian's apartment, but Dr. S. was on the street, waiting. I learned a very useful technique for sedating a terrified and injured dog using a plastic lawn chair to hold him still while inserting the needle through the mesh on the chair back.

We agreed to call him Noa, because he rode upon the (foul) water.

Dr. S. and Ali washed him thoroughly and found he was a light gold and white underneath the muck. Once he was clean, the vet disinfected the wounds, stitched what needed to be stitched, vaccinated him and gave him antibiotics and painkillers. One leg has been hanging limp, but there is no sign of broken bones. We can only hope it is a contusion, sprain or similar injury, and not a spinal problem.

Dr. S. gave Ali enough medications, and instructions as to when to give them, and the lawn chair. We put Noa back in the crate, and drove him to Ali's village, where Ali has built a spacious and clean kennel for just these emergencies.

Most modern readers do not realize the import of the parable of the good Samaritan. It is not merely about helping those in need. At the time Yeshua told it, the Samaritans were despised by all right-thinking Jews as a primitive heretical sect that followed a different Torah, worshiped with different rites, and refused to acknowledge the Jerusalem Temple as supreme.

Yet, it was one of these despised Samaritans who cared for the Jewish traveler when the priest and the rich man of his own nation passed him by.

The three people in this true story are a Muslim, a Ba'Hai, and a Jew. Noa didn't mention his religion. But he's safe in that kennel, not very comfortable because of the stitches, but with a chance.

All prayers accepted, even from those who don't believe: what can it hurt, nu?

Addendum (I received this email from Cathrine this morning):

Unfortunately, Noa died in the night. Sometimes, all we can do is give them a name, a little caring, and a quiet and safe place to die. ALi buried him in a corner of his brother's land that is reserved for the battles we lose....

Loads of dog welfare related stuff happening in Toronto over the next couple of weeks so I thought I'd put up a list.

The city's Executive Committee is meeting once again on September 19th to discuss and listen to deputations concerning service cuts and anyone is free to sign up to deliver a deputation. If you feel so inclined, you can go to City Hall and tell the committee how important Toronto Animal Services is to you. To sign up, go to the mentioned link and hit the "Request to Speak" button or phone 416-392-6627.

The ORA (Organization for the Rescue of Animals) has invited Bill Bruce, head of Calgary Animal Services, to town and he will be speaking about the successes of the the CAS model on Friday, September 30, 2011 at the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville Hotel in the Portman Room (220 Bloor Street West) at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $11.30. For more info: 416-726-5762.

Anti-BSL rally. Support MPP Cheri DiNovo in her attempt to remove breed specific legislation (anti-Pit Bull laws) from Ontario. Saturday, October 1 · 4:00pm - 7:00pm. Downtown Toronto - Exact location to be announced. More info here.

One of the area's most successful rescues, Dog Rescuers Inc., is putting on a fundraiser next weekend. These guys are great, and even greater in my eyes after they took in Beauty, so check them out if you're in the area:

The Toronto Humane Society is also having its annual Paws in the Park fundraiser walk in October:


A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.