Two years ago, a judge in Quebec, Canada awarded $14,000 to the defendants in what may have well been a precedent-setting dog kennel defamation case.
He found that the plaintiff, who had bought a genetically defective dog from Paws R Us kennel that had to be euthanized, defamed the kennel by calling it a "puppy mill" on the Internet postings.
The ruling was celebrated throughout the North American commercial kennel industry.
Today animal welfare workers with Humane Society International raided the same kennel and removed more than 400 dogs suffering from lack of medical treatment in what is being called the biggest puppy mill seizure in Quebec - if not Canadian -history.
"This is the largest commercial breeding facility involving some of the worst conditions the Humane Society's. . . animal rescue team has ever come across in Canada," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International/Canada.
It's not the first Quebec puppy mill to be busted and the province has seen its share of sled dog cruelty too. At the same time Quebec imports thousands of U.S. horses each year to be processed at one of a handful of remaining equine slaughterhouses in North America.
News reports say that as many as 800 kennels operate in the province without license or regulation, although the provincial government is set to announce the first-ever standards of care for kennel animals.
At Paws R Us alone, a conservative estimate would suggest it produced 30,000 puppies a year.
Were the puppies all sold in Canada, a nation a tenth the size of the U.S.? Or was the kennel shipping puppies south to New York City and elsewhere in the U.S? The kennel's website has been shut down, but other sites show they advertised "quality and affordable puppies" - terriers and Bichons among them -and that shipping was available.
(Photo/Humane Society International)