Overcrowded and with the vocal cords sectioned. This is how the National Police found 270 dogs of the Chihuahua and Pomeranian breeds in two illegal hatcheries in Meco and Arganda del Rey (Madrid). They were in « hygienic-sanitary and habitable conditions » bad « and the agents also found » two dead, frozen and wrapped in newspaper, « said Juan José Castro, Chief Inspector of the Consumer, Environment and Doping Section of the National Police.
At the moment the agents they have arrested five people: the two leaders of the criminal group, two veterinarians and a computer expert who also was in charge of marketing tasks for the sale of dogs. All are of Spanish nationality.
It is estimated that they have been practicing this activity since 1990. Since then it is known that they have sold at least 1,400 pedigree dogs, since they are the ones that were registered in the Royal Canine Society of Spain. According to calculations by the National Police, the benefits obtained would exceed two million euros, not counting the sale of dogs without pedigree.
The detainees allegedly made up one of the leading distributors of dogs in Europe and they face a crime of animal abuse, another belonging to a criminal organization and a third party for document falsification. Castro has pointed out that «the » modus operandi « was based on three basic pillars: a perfect commercial strategy, collaboration with other cells in Spain and the help of veterinarians».
First, they announced the dogs, which were raised illegally in centers spread throughout the Spanish territory, through the Internet. In addition, they had the support of a « computer expert » who hung the web ads and also on the page milanuncios.com. And finally, the veterinarians, which were responsible for giving the appearance of legality by providing leaders with sealed cards, medicines or instruments to implant the chip.
« Chihuahuas and Pomeranians are very susceptible to their illegal breeding because they are very expensive, » Castro explained. The detainees sold the « breed » dogs for 3,000 euros and those who did not have an official certificate for not being registered in the Royal Canine Society, exceeded 1,300 euros.
Police do not rule out more detainees, since the animals were distributed throughout the Spanish geography and even in Europe.
The police investigation began in January 2019 thanks to an anonymous complaint about the illegal hatchery of Meco. « There we acted when the owner moved or tried to get rid of some dogs, at that time twelve animals were involved, » said Chief Commissioner Enrique Juarez.
Later, the agents detected that the place intervened in Meco was a branch of the one who was truly raising dogs illegally. It was in November when the Police managed to register a chalet in Arganda del Rey, the main center of the organization and where they found 258 overcrowded dogs.
Operations without anesthesia
The dogs were in a zulo also built illegally and were divided into three areas: one for breeding, another in which were animals that were ready for sale and another in which were those that were ready to breed.
As you can see in the images, they were caged in small spaces and in « deplorable » conditions, according to Castro. Sometimes there were three dogs for each cage and the animals presented joint problems because they could barely move.
In addition to the vocal cords section, females destined for breeding had suffered caesarean sections, amputations and they had cysts in the ovaries In the place were found medicines and utensils for veterinary use, but not anesthesia, although it is necessary for certain operations.
The veterinarians had their clinics in Leganés and Moratalaz and the other three arrested had no profession other than this illegal hatchery. The leaders of the organization were a marriage. A 56-year-old man and his wife of 59. The dogs were delivered by hand or through parcel delivery companies.
The rescued animals are now in the custody of several animal protectors pending the judicial decision on their fate.