| Last updated
Thirty-eight French bulldog puppies have been found dead on a plane that arrived in Canada.
Canadian authorities have now launched an investigation to establish what happened to the dogs.
According to officials, at least 500 puppies were on a Ukraine International Airlines plane at Toronto Pearson Airport and 38 were tragically dead.
Many of the other dogs were suffering from dehydration, vomiting and weakness, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has said. The agency said in a statement: "Upon inspection, it was found that 38 were dead on arrival.
"Ukrainian International Airlines is a member of the International Air Transport Association, which has voluntary guidelines airlines should follow to ensure animals are transported safely.
"CFIA officials are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and will determine next steps once the investigation is complete."
Dog handler Abby Lorenzen, who was in the airport cargo area to pick up another animal, said it was like 'a horror show'. She told CBC: "It was just a nightmare.
"Canada and the federal government need to change the laws on the importation of these puppies."
Professor Scott Weese of the University of Guelph, who works with Public Health Agency of Canada, said many people unwittingly by dogs from overseas, believing they are bred in Canada.
He told the news outlet: "It is a big industry. There's no doubt about it. And it's been looked at more in the U.S. and there's potentially some organised crime component of it, too, in some areas.
"There are lucrative situations where you can buy large numbers of dogs fairly cheaply. You mentioned 500 French bull dogs. If those are going for sale at $3,000 to $4,000 a dog, that's a massive amount of money."
Ukrainian International Airlines posted on social media to say: "Everyone at UIA offers its condolences for the tragic loss of animal life on our flight.
"UIA is working with local authorities to determine what happened and to make any changes necessary to prevent such a situation from occurring again."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read