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W-FIVE looks at Canadian puppy mill industry

January 19th, 2003, 08:32 PM
W-FIVE looks at Canadian puppy mill industry
CTV News Staff

Inside a Moncton, New Brunswick puppy mill, dogs are crammed into tiny cages, covered in open sores and coated in their own feces and urine. Bodies of other dead dogs litter the floor.

"These were the worst," says veterinarian Dr. Lori Parsons, who treated the dogs after they were seized by the New Brunswick SPCA.

Parsons says she's never seen animals in the condition of those found at the Moncton operation. She runs off a list of their ailments: open sores, anal gland ruptures, evidence of arthritis in dogs just two or three years old.

The owner of the mill had agreed to comment, but he had few words when a W-FIVE crew arrived for an interview.

"I feed my dog every day. Go outside now," Nick Levesque told W-FIVE's Wei Chen.

Levesque claims he treated his dogs well, but he pleaded guilty to charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals. He was fined $500 and forbidden from owning animals for two years as a result, penalties officials say beg the question if the fines suit the crime.

"It might not be fair, but he was fined based on what the criminal code stipulates the fines can be," says Paul Melanson of the New Brunswick SPCA.

While the conditions of Levesque's puppy breeding operation may have been extreme, officials say puppy mills are growing increasingly common, especially in New Brunswick. Two years ago, a survey by the Ontario SPCA estimated there were 400 mills in N.B. alone.

"An unscrupulous operator will just continuously breed puppies for sale to the public, and the adult dogs are just bred continuously until they're of no use anymore," says Craig Daniell, director of operations for the Ontario SPCA.