An illegal dog kennel facility on Lennox and Addington County Road 9 has been the site of much controversy this past week. Protests, amateur gonzo journalism, stolen dogs and equipment, and visits by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have caused stress to people on all sides of the issue.
Zohaib Masood, currently of Niagara Falls, owns the dogs at the property, which is registered to his father, Kushro Masood, of Thorold, Ont. The younger Masood said he has been the victim of unfair treatment, in person and on social media, since the presence of the unlicensed kennel first publicly came to light.
“I always had dogs… I’ve always loved dogs… So, I ended up buying a place in Greater Napanee [for a dog breeding kennel],” Masood explained.
Asked why he wanted to breed dogs, American Bullies in this case, for sale, Masood said, “As I said, I have a huge passion for dogs all my life and when you breed, you always want to breed for the better. So, you’re always improving your dogs and your lines. So, that’s why I have a few dogs, right? As a breeder, people have multiple dogs.”
Masood explained that the unlicensed kennel with multiple dogs onsite was due to a mistake made by the town. “Before moving to Napanee, I went to the city and I talked to who you are supposed to talk to and asked them about what size structure [you can build for a dog kennel], what design. They said, once it’s done, just let us know. And we’ll assess it and give you a licence, pretty much,” he said, noting this occurred in December 2021.
Masood said he hired a contractor and they got to work building the kennel, however, a concerned neighbour heard the dogs barking at the site and called the local Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). According to Masood, the SPCA visited the site, “And they say, ‘Zo, we have… concern[ed] neighbours.’ And they said, ‘please put a heat lamp, add some insulation here.’ So, just throughout the whole time, I’m just being compliant with them and what they wanted, because I was new to this right? I wanted to do it the right way.”
Masood said that the kennels and runs he built had roofs, were insulated, and he had added heat lamps that were powered by an onsite generator.
However, Masood said, “Just very recently, the town’s like, ‘Zo, you don’t have a building permit, you don’t have a site plan, remove the trailer’ – I was living in a trailer – ‘remove the dogs’. After that day, it’s been chaotic, like, you know, because I removed the trailer, where I was living, and then removed the dogs. It was a nightmare.”
Masood has since been driving back and forth to Niagara Falls, rehoming the dogs, he said. He left some of the dogs at the site while he did this, and explained, “I have someone in Napanee who would come to the place and feed the dogs and water and look out for them.”
Adding to Masood’s “nightmare,” he said that, since his unlicensed kennel has been reported on in the media, he has been the victim of unfair social media posts, two of his dogs have been stolen, protesters have trespassed on the property to live-stream themselves with his dogs, and, most recently, his generator was stolen.
Indeed, Amber Shaver, an animal advocate from Kingston, says she did attend the property to check on the dogs.
Shaver explained her actions stating, “I love all animals and advocate across the board for every single kind of animal species.” She explained that she helps Kingston Lost and Found Pets and Boxers Ontario, and that she actively posts for public awareness of animal issues on social media. “I do have a lot of support online, which is good, and credibility – in terms of things that I post being accurate information – so, it’s just not out of a whim… I decided to go on Saturday [Feb. 5, 2022] myself – of course, I yes, trespassed, and the OPP know, I have spoken to them numerous times. And I just went and I videotaped it myself when I was there. And you know, did a live feed to create awareness and educate the public.”
She said from what she had read, “I could tell it was a major issue. And these [four] dogs, when I looked at them, there was food thrown on the ground frozen, no water whatsoever, they were lifting up their paws, shaking, skin and bone, especially that one puppy that’s now missing.”
After that first live video, Shaver said she got “thousands of messages” from people online and that some of the messages suggested that the Masoods were breeding dogs for sale long before moving to Napanee, or that they had been under investigation by Provincial Animal Welfare in the past in other parts of the province.
Shaver said she returned on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, to find other members of the public at the site. “They’re the ones that just took the dogs out right away,” she asserted.
Shaver live-streamed video again as the group of people gave the dogs bowls of water, which they gobbled down, and, she said, “they immediately put the dog in their big SUV [to warm them up]… [our main goals were] give them food, give them water, give them heat, and what now and so… that’s when the SPCA pulled in and also the police.”
Shaver said that when the group arrived, they were shocked to discover only two dogs remained of the four that had been there the day before. Masood said two dogs, an adult female and a female puppy, had been stolen overnight, which he blames on Shaver’s video streaming.
The OPP and the SPCA insisted the protesters put the dogs back in their dog runs, much to the dismay of some protestors, Shaver relayed.
The SPCA called Masood, who was already en route and arrived very soon afterward in his large black pickup truck. Masood said that he had been at the property on Saturday, taken some dogs home to Niagara Falls, and was returning to pick up the last four dogs in Napanee when he came to the site. This was when he learned that the two female dogs were missing.
“It’s just it’s been a nightmare,” Masood reiterated. “With going back and forth, back and forth. Because Niagara Falls to Napanee is about three hours and 45 minutes. And, and that Saturday, I went to take my dogs away and then [Amber Shaver] came on my property and started making videos, saying, ‘oh the dogs are all alone here, no one’s living here.’ That’s all complete BS because that day I went back to my dogs and I was coming the next day to pick up the rest of my dogs.”
Masood explained that the dogs always “act like they’re starving,” but that it is just natural behaviour for the breed.
Asked where the dogs are now, Masood said, “I’ve got a huge basement [in Niagara Falls]. So, I’ve got, like, separate kennels for them [in the basement]. They’re okay, but in the city, you can’t have that many dogs. It’s been very tough, to be honest.”
Masood blames Shaver for the theft of two of his dogs, for revealing his name to the public on social media, and for the theft of his property, including his generator and extension cords. Both thefts are under investigation by the police according to Masood.
For her part, Shaver said she is not deterred, and has continued to post about Masood and his dogs on social media, but said it was not her who originally outed him as the property owner. She admits that she did trespass on the property, but said she didn’t take the missing dog.
“I accept all of the repercussions that may come to me in the future. And I don’t know… why else am I here on this Earth if I can’t help abused animals?”
This is a developing story with more to come.