Quebec kennel owners plead guilty to animal-cruelty charges

Danielle Bell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:06 PM ET

OTTAWA -- The owners of a Quebec kennel pleaded guilty to 17 animal cruelty charges Thursday roughly two months after more than 500 neglected dogs and puppies were seized from a commercial breeder in the largest rescue in Canadian history.

Charlene and Nicole Lambombard, the owners of Paws "R" Us, a kennel operating near Shawville, Que., were also fined more than $10,000 in a western Quebec courthouse.

The Humane Society International/Canada can now start the process of finding homes for the animals, which were seized from the commercial breeding facility in September after several investigations indicated improper care.

"It's a very happy outcome. We're thrilled with the agreement that has been reached," said Dean Pogas, a spokesman for Humane Society International/Canada.

"It was the largest commercial breeding facility that we've ever been involved with."

Anima-Quebec now has custody of the dogs, which are being cared for at a shelter in La Chute, Que.

The Humane Society has been helping to care for the animals for more than two months at an emergency shelter near Montreal while awaiting a hearing to determine custody.

The settlement means the Quebec government gains custody of the rescued dogs.

Since the seizure of more than 500 dogs, more than 90 puppies have been born.

Animal welfare officials welcomed the settlement, which they say also sends a strong message to unethical breeders who put profits above animal care.

Humane Society officials said this case involved some of the most inhumane conditions its animal rescue team had every encountered, with hundreds of dogs denied basic needs, proper care and socialization.

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

Dozens of breeds will now be available for adoption once they have all been spayed or neutered.

The Humane Society expects to be flooded with calls of potential adoptees.

"There's everything from a chihuahua to a St. Bernard to a Great Dane," Pogas said. "We're really hoping to be able to close the shelter before Christmas."

Anyone interested in adoption can visit www.hsicanada.ca/savedogs.

The Labombards are expected to return to court in February.


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