Arrival of 500 Puppies—38 Reportedly Dead—in Canada Speaks to Bigger Issue

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3 min read

On June 13, after a 10-hour flight, a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane touched down in Toronto. No one was prepared for the “horror show” found upon its arrival: Reportedly aboard the cargo plane were roughly 500 French bulldog puppies, 38 of them dead.

Many of the more than 400 survivors arrived dehydrated, vomiting, and weak, according to reports. “It was just a nightmare,” Abby Lorenzen, a bystander, told the CBC.

The puppies appeared to have been flown in crates, as seen in the footage above, and some of the crates were allegedly even shrink-wrapped. Temperatures in Kyiv—the city in Ukraine where the UIA flight departed from—were apparently approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 32 degrees Celsius) on the day the dogs were loaded onto the plane.

Millions of American dogs are euthanized every year, yet breed trends (like the narrow-minded obsession with “Frenchies”) are bringing in even more from overseas, adding to the deadly overpopulation problem.

This tragedy is far from an isolated incident—a month ago, amid the coronavirus lockdown, Love Island star Tommy Fury reportedly bought a Pomeranian puppy who died only a few days after arriving from Russia. According to the Daily Mail, the dog, named Mr. Chai, was a 21st birthday gift to Fury’s costar and girlfriend, Molly-Mae Hague.

Despite the countless dogs in shelters (many of whom will be euthanized if not adopted), in March a California man decided to buy a dog as a gift for his 5-year-old daughter, reportedly paying $3,000 for a 12-week-old Yorkshire terrier. He had the puppy, named Sebastian, flown from a breeder in Ohio to the Los Angeles International Airport. When he arrived at the airport and opened the crate that Sebastian had been flown in, he discovered that the dog was dead.

French bulldogs, Pomeranians, Yorkshire terriers … these dogs don’t want to be exploited for some sick aesthetic obsession, but breeders don’t care. Dog breeders are only interested in their bottom line and will go to deadly lengths to produce these unnatural “designer” breeds, resulting in inherited health conditions that can be painful and fatal for dogs. French bulldogs like those aboard the UIA plane, for example, have a tendency to suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome—their breathing is obstructed because of the shape of their head and face.

Breeding dogs kills dogs. Flying dogs as “cargo” kills them, too. We know this.

There’s no excuse for supporting breeders, whether they’re your neighbors down the street or a big-time Ukrainian operation funneling dogs into Canada. There’s. No. Excuse. With millions of dogs—”purebreds” and mutts—already in need of homes, every puppy sold by a breeder means a lost opportunity for a dog waiting in a shelter for a family of their own.

We have an obligation to do what’s right for animals.

Please, never support breeders (adopt, don’t shop!), and never give a dog as a gift or choose one based on their status as a “purebred.” Find out more about ways breeding dogs is killing dogs and how the American Kennel Club shares the blame, and click below to do more for victims of the pet trade.

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