Two high profile cases of animal hoarding in Alberta shocked many last year with hundreds of dogs kept in horrible condition but a local animal rescue group says plenty more are being kept privately, at times inhumanely, and they say that will only change with education.

doc screening

The screening was well attended. (CBC)

Hundreds of dogs crammed into cages, filled the screen of Calgary's Globe Cinema Sunday afternoon in a documentary by Chris Ksoll.

"It's legal to keep a dog its whole life in a chicken-wire crate, with no solid flooring, no veterinary care and the cage can be six inches bigger than the dog, for its whole life," Ksoll said.

Chris Ksoll

Documentary filmmaker Chris Ksoll says, in the United States, some horrible conditions for dogs are completely legal in many jurisdictions. (Kate Adach/CBC)

"That's not OK."

Her film is based in the United States, but Deanna Thompson of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society says the problem is often hidden here too

Deanna Thompson, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society

Deanna Thompson of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society says the problem in Alberta and across the country, is hidden. (CBC)

"Just here in November there were 45 Shih Tzus that came to our organization in horrendous condition, covered in feces and urine," Thompson said, adding that's why they brought the film to Calgary.

Thompson says there are thousands of dogs across Canada hidden away and used for breeding puppies to be sold online or in stores.

"Whether they have a breeding pair of 10 dogs or a breeding pair of 500 dogs, those animals are still suffering the same way."

The society hopes Albertans will do research before they buy and push for a change in legislation.

With files from Kate Adach