May 12, 2022

Offshoring Puppy Mills

There’s a persistent rumour going around the country that the many thousands of people who acquired pets during the pandemic — mostly dogs — are surrendering their pets to shelters in droves because those people are now going back to work. We receive regular calls from the media wanting us to talk about the story, but the story isn’t true; not in Ottawa, and not in any part of the country that I am aware of.

It certainly appears very true that a huge number of people acquired a pet during the pandemic. But even though many people have now returned to work, we aren’t seeing those thousands of dogs show up at our shelter.

This is not to say that there are no issues stemming from what has been called the “pandemic puppy” phenomenon. Demand for dog training has skyrocketed at the OHS and elsewhere. There is a severe shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technicians for all these newly acquired pets, and not just for emergency care. Even routine care such as vaccination can be hard to come by in Ottawa and in many communities.

One of my biggest concerns is the source of all these puppies. When demand is high, money follows and a tremendous number of puppies have been flown to Canada from puppy mills far away. Canada has offshored our puppy mills. Dogs are repeatedly bred in deplorable conditions without regard for their welfare. The puppies are then flown to Canada en masse often in poor conditions, without food or water and accompanied with falsified medical records — often through third-party countries and middle people to disguise the animal’s real origin.

The result too often is heartbroken families with either huge veterinary bills or no veterinary access at all for their dog. Too often, families are left with an under-socialized or traumatized dog that is not the companion they envisioned.

Don’t contribute to this sad state for dogs or for yourself. Read about how to find your new best friend responsibly. Find an ethical rescue, a responsible breeder, or visit the animals for adoption at the Ottawa Humane Society.

Bruce Roney
President & CEO