Prof. Scott Weese, a veterinary infectious disease researcher at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College, spoke to CBC News about an incident in which hundreds of puppies were found to have been imported illegally into Canada through Toronto International Pearson Airport.
Canada has federal regulations in place for animal imports in order to protect Canadian animals from the introduction of serious animal diseases. However, these regulations are not always followed, Weese said, adding the full scope of the issue isn’t well understood.
“We have no idea how many dogs come in, where they go, where they come from,” said Weese, who is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to study the issue.
There is a lucrative market for the sale of puppies, which may be why organized crime groups become involved, he said. If each puppy discovered at Pearson is eventually sold to $3,000 to $4,000, “that’s a massive amount of money.”
Weese is a veterinary internal medicine specialist and the chief of infection control at OVC.