38 Dead Dogs Discovered On Ukraine International Flight To Toronto

Some unfortunate news coming out of Toronto as 38 puppies perished on a Ukraine International Airlines flight. The aircraft was carrying around 500 puppies when it arrived in Canada. This incident occurred on June 13th, 2020.

38 Dead Dogs Discovered On Ukraine International Flight To Toronto
The incident occurred on a UIA Boeing 767 flight to Toronto. Photo: Getty Images

An unfortunate incident onboard a UIA flight

Global News reported that 38 puppies died on a flight from Ukraine to Toronto. There were as many as 500 dogs onboard the flight, with many arriving sick. The airline released the following statement via Facebook:


A citizen documented the incident in a Facebook post with some graphic imagery. Abby Lorenzen described a chaotic scene with over 500 dogs barking. According to Ms. Lorenzen, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) veterinarian shared her concerns and was taken aback by the sheer number of animals entering the facility.

UIA 777
UIA has flown regularly to Toronto in the past. Photo: Alec Wilson via Flickr

Flying an animal into a foreign country requires a fair bit of paperwork. Countries are strict about letting in live animals as there may be unintended health risks to local animal populations from the introduction of a foreign animal. Most of these animals require a strict set of vaccinations and sometimes certain medications. It is unlikely that these pets passed away from a medical condition. Instead, the flight appears to have been hard on the dogs.

Pet dog with glasses checks in
Flying a pet comes with plenty of rules and regulations. Photo: Getty Images

Simple Flying reached out to the CFIA for comment. The agency responded with the following:

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is aware that on June 13, 2020, shipments of approximately 500 puppies landed at Pearson International Airport, Toronto. Upon arrival, many of the dogs were suffering from dehydration, weakness and/or vomiting. When inspected, it was found that 38 were dead on arrival and the flight was from Ukraine. CFIA officials are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and will determine next steps once the investigation is complete. The CFIA is responsible for regulating the importation of animals, including dogs, into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals and humans. Canada’s dog import requirements are determined by the Health of Animals Act and the Health of Animals Regulations. The import conditions are developed by taking into account the diseases and conditions affecting animals, the current national disease health status, the risk to human health, and Canada’s obligations as members of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).”

Who is to blame?

It is unclear what went wrong, although it appears that the issue started while in Europe. Transporting about 500 pets is beyond the norm of most international airlines. It may have been an oversight from the ground staff loading the aircraft in Ukraine. A further investigation would determine exactly what went wrong in this incident.

Transporting pets in an airplane

Sometimes, flying is the best (or even the only) option for transporting a pet. Sometimes there are options for traveling with your pet in the cabin. However, this practice is not without controversy. Still, some pets must travel as cargo. This is how the majority of pets are shipped.

Dogs evacuated from hurricane Katrina
Some pets must be transported in the hold Photo: Getty Images

The cargo hold usually has an exclusive zone that can accommodate live animals onboard the aircraft. The flight crew can ensure that the hold is heated and pressurized to maintain the best conditions for pets.

Flying your pet can be a stressful experience. However, it is best to do your research ahead of time. You can research airline policies about bringing your pet into the cabin– if it is allowed. Otherwise, you can reach out to a carrier to try and learn more information about your pet’s journey in the hold.

However, some airlines are working on making transporting a pet safer. Delta Air Lines has a CarePod crate, especially for animals. This crate is bright pink to ensure that the crates are not missed, is equipped with GPS tracking, contains secure doors and shaded windows, while also providing food and water for the pet.

Do you have any tips for people who want or need to fly their pets? What do you make of this incident? Let us know in the comments!