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Rescued puppies sent back to Iran, shelters receive no explanation

Last Updated Jul 30, 2021 at 2:56 pm MDT

MONTREAL (CityNews) – Dog rescue shelters, volunteer groups and adopters are furious after a shipment of rescue dogs from Iran was refused entry into Canada at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport.

They say the puppies were mistreated and could have been euthanized as a result of that decision.

Shelter Loved at Last Dog Rescue says Iran discourages dog ownership and dog walking is also banned in certain areas.

“Those puppies had been in their crates for 24 hours at least… with no water because their water would have been taken up for the first hours of the flight. They let them out to eat and drink for about 10 minutes with a volunteer in Montreal, put them back into their crate and pushed them on a flight to Iran,” said Janet Olson with the rescue.

The shelter adds rescuing the street dogs is their only chance at a good and humane life.

Photos of the rescue puppies

CityNews reached out to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is responsible for establishing import requirements for all animals and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), which is responsible for the initial inspection and review of the health and humane transport compliance and documentation of personal imports of dogs for comments on the puppies being returned to Iran.

“For commercial imports from countries other than the United States, one of the permit requirements is that the dogs being imported must have been born in a certified kennel of origin and must have resided there from the time of birth until export to Canada,” said the CFIA in a statement.

“Rescue organizations may coordinate the import of dogs less than eight months of age for animals that qualify as a ‘personal import of a dog unaccompanied by the owner’. Imports in this category must be adopted or owned by an individual before entering Canada. Dogs that will be initially placed in a foster home for assessment or screening before being made available for adoption are not personal imports.”

The CBSA has not yet responded.

Both Loved at Last Dog Rescue and Woofy Wishes say they’re allowed by law to personally import puppies and had made sure all of the animals already had homes to go to once they arrived in Canada.

The dogs must have a veterinary certificate of health and a valid rabies certificate.

“They sent back five puppies on the B3. I had all the documents on the B3. Two of the puppies were allowed to stay and Five of the puppies were sent back to Iran and we still don’t have an explanation,” said Olson.

“The adopters are just devastated by this. ‘When are we gonna get our puppies?’ I keep getting asked and I have no idea. So, we can’t ask these people to pay $2,500 to import their puppies from Iran so we’ll have to pay that and that’ll affect our financial situation so badly that we might have to stop rescuing dogs for a while,” she added.