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My dad told me about this one the other day after he heard about it in the news...

More than 500 dogs seized in history-making Quebec puppy mill bust - National pet news | Examiner.com

What I don't understand is this:
"It will now be up to the courts to decide whether the dogs will be put for adoption or returned to their original owners, Auclair said."

How could anyone even consider returning the dogs to the owners? The laws in Quebec must really be lacking... :(
As is the same here in the U.S., a person is innocent until proven guilty. And the dogs are the only evidence the authorities have proving guilt or innocence. So generally the dogs cannot be placed in adoptive homes, they must be held as evidence. In most seizure cases like this the dogs will get placed in adoptive homes eventually. But not before the accused is afforded due process. Very sad ...
 

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I've had a passing interest in animal law since I did a small research paper on it in law school. Unfortunately, in the current instance it's more than just an issue of whether the offenders are guilty. They don't need the actual animals as evidence to prove an offence. Indeed, in certain circumstances, the court can order "disposition of animals before judgment" in certain circumstances. The court could order the animals given to rescue operations before a finding of "guilt." As I was saying though, the animal protection laws are the worst of any province in Canada. The only Canadian jurisdiction that has more lax animal protection laws is Nunavut. In Quebec the seizure of mistreated animals is not mandatory (the court can order mistreated animals go right back to the owners) neither is a ban on future animal ownership. Standards of care are also lax/poorly defined. Fines and sanctions are less than in other provinces as well. See Animal Legal Defense Fund's site for more info: Animal Legal Defense Fund:2011 Canadian Animal Protection Laws RankingsTM
 
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