A private pound in Montreal contracted by the city for animal population control is violating its agreement to treat abandoned pets humanely, according to a Radio-Canada investigation.

Berger Blanc handles more than 30,000 animals each year, or about half of Montreal's abandoned pet population, for 10 city boroughs that have contracted its services.

Using a hidden camera, investigative program Enquête spent time inside the pound and documented questionable euthanasia practices.

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Berger Blanc handles more than 30,000 animals a year. ((Radio-Canada))

Some animals were given lethal injections without being sedated first, in violation of North American veterinarian standards.

General employees trained at the pound were in charge of administering needles, rather than a veterinarian.

"I don't know what to say, these are shocking images," said Berger Blanc director Pierre Couture, after Enquête showed him the video footage obtained by the hidden camera.

The findings are troubling on many levels, said Montreal veterinarian Judith Weissmann, who is not affiliated with the pound.

"What I am seeing is distress, and actual pain," she commented after viewing the video footage.

It's not clear how many animals are euthanized every year at Berger Blanc.

Few lost pets make it home

The organization is committed on paper to help reunite owners with their lost pets.

Enquête found few services available at the pound. Only four out of 10 dogs are returned home, and few cats are reunited with their owners.

Boroughs that deal with the pound say they're concerned about the findings.

"It's shocking, I don't have any other words," said Daniel Lafond, director of urban services for the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

The City of Montreal's legal department has opened a file following the Enquête investigation, and says it is reviewing all contracts between the boroughs and the pound.