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A clan dedicated to the illegal importing, breeding and sale of puppies in Girona and Madrid has been shut down. Spanish National police arrested eight people in the two territories who were allegedly responsible for crimes of continued animal abuse, fraud, unqualified professional practice, document forgery and membership of a criminal organization. Those arrested, according to what the officers were able to verify during the searches of the different homes, had buried animals on the properties, which they confirmed by locating remains, as well as being in possession of medication suitable for administering euthanasia shots to dogs and cats.


The puppies were brought in large numbers from Slovakia and Hungary

The dogs mainly came from "farms" in Slovakia and/or Hungary, two countries in the European Union with less strict legislation on the breeding of these animals, and which export to a large part of the continent. According to the investigators from the National Police, the process of these acquisitions outside Spain was an inferno for the animals who were piled into crowded cages to be transported for 15 hours. But this was not the end of the ordeal: once they arrived in Spanish territory, and after the clan from Girona and Madrid managed to gain the trust of the breeder and reach an agreement, documentation was altered so that they were put up for sale when younger than the permitted age and suffering from health conditions and illnesses that were known to the organization. Similar practices were also used by the clan with domestic suppliers located throughout the Spanish state.

In both cases, the puppies were stored until sold and in many cases customers were not informed of their origin or condition. The sellers also sent the animals to some breeding and pet trading establishments located in Catalonia and Madrid. Here, they were given treatments and vaccinations and previously-acquired health passports were thus filled in, making use of a veterinarian in their trust, whose stamp they also used for other procedures such as vaccines, health certificates or even to acquire medicines for which a veterinary prescription was necessary.

Smuggling ring sold sick puppies under the minimum age

This mistreatment of the puppies, which in many cases were aged under two months and did not reach the minimum age, did not end there. The conditions to which the dogs were subjected were such that many ended up becoming sick or even dying, something to which the traffickers were apparently indifferent, putting all available animals up for sale, whether healthy, ill or harbouring infectious diseases. All this caused many of the dogs to lose their lives shortly after being acquired by customers. Others may have died during the last stages of their transport, which took place in unauthorized vehicles, and involved being kept in small spaces for periods of more than eight hours without being taking out of the vehicles and without food or drink.

The sale process was carried out through on-line commerce platforms or a website created by the clan. When they gained the trust of the customers, the traffickers handed over with the animal, a passport prepared by themselves, as well as a fake health certificate. Allegedly they also changed ages and breeds of animals.

Four searches in Catalonia and Madrid, with 100 dogs rescued

The strike against the clan carried out by the National Police has included four searches in Catalonia - all in the Girona area - and in the Community of Madrid, where they located buried bone remains of dead animals, abundant documentation and certificates, as well as euthanasia medication for dogs and cats. The police also seized 3,000 euros in cash and blocked accounts and bank deposits managed by this puppy trafficking and sales clan. A total of eight people have been arrested. The National Police rescued more than a hundred animals during the raids and thanked the animal protection associations and organizations that collaborated in the investigation.