Corner of a field between the street of Doctor García Tapias and Arroyo de la Media Legua, in the neighborhood of Moratalaz. A pit bull lies, with his body pointed by bites. Is dead. This scene is reproduced, from time to time, in little-traveled places in Madrid, close to where illegal dog fights are organized at the price of gold. It is another example of the last link in the chain of many cases of theft of dogs. An issue that has returned to the present day from the controversy of Pocahontas case: The complaint of a trainer from Aranjuez that he had been assaulted by four guys at gunpoint to steal the dog. The truth is that the robbery as such never existed (or that the individual acknowledged), but it is investigated whether the animal was held for several days as a « pledge » of an unpaid debt.
«However, dog theft is something that happens continuously. Above all, of greyhounds. The galgueros denounce continuously, although we do not have a specific number of how many dogs are stolen in the Community, ”police sources explain. They point out that there are, broadly speaking, two types of motivations behind these crimes. On the one hand, there are « races that are highly coveted for breeding. » We talk about the Pinscher, Yorkshire, Chihuahua, Maltese Bichon, Westy… «There are people who take them as toys or to give to their children or partners. These dogs, like the bichon, cost 800 euros in a legal hatchery, and 200-300 euros in the black market. They are sold on websites of second-hand objects. But many of them end up in slums and in towns like the Cañada Real, where they abound a lot ».
A recent example is that of an eviction of one of the clans’ infra-dwellings that settle there. Police found a yorkshire mini of just over a kilo last Friday. «That area is full of small dogs. The females get more juice, they make them give birth, and so the puppies sell, ”police experts explain.
Thefts are usually careless. Therefore, both national police and since Animal Justice, presided by Mati Cubillo, they advise people not to leave their dogs tied to street lamps and canopies, « even if they are five minutes to buy bread in the supermarket. » There are people, explain the researchers, who are around areas looking. Of course, few are the cases (such as the falsely denounced Pocahontas) in which the abduction is committed with violence or intimidation. « It is more common to occur in parks of quite populous neighborhoods, but there are no specific areas, » they add.
The other purpose, more cruel if possible, is to use stolen dogs as « sparrings » for other animals that train for illegal fights. « Although there are no figures, through social networks we see that the issue of robberies is moving more, » says Cubillo, who has spent decades in the world of animal defense and collaborates with the Civil Guard Seprona. It affects the owners should be more careful with their animals, but also offers an interesting fact: « Between 90% and 95% of the dogs we collect have no chip », something to which they are required by law.
Regarding dog fights, he says that there are in the Community of Madrid: «There are even national and international championships». They are carried out in marginal areas of La Cañada, Los Berrocales, Villa de Vallecas, Orcasitas, Leganés Norte … «But there are also those of people who live in large chalets and who, in the face of society, lead lives very respectable ».
In these cases it is, above all, PPP breeds (potentially dangerous dogs), police sources explain. Pitbull and American Stafford (mainly, in its « blue » mode) are the favorites: « Walking through certain neighborhoods with a dog like this gives you a status that you wouldn’t have. It can cost you 500-600 euros. Under normal conditions, a « blue » with its papers in order reaches 2,000 euros.
The world of dog fighting is very tight. Tens of thousands of euros are bet and, in the background, there may be drug trafficking underworld. The clearest example is the Chase operation, led by a court in Torrejón de Ardoz, with tentacles in Madrid and Tenerife and that it resulted in 23 detainees. They organized « Champions fights » in Saz del Jarama and Batres Fountain. Among those in charge, there was a local Canarian police and a veterinarian. The calls were made through a pyramid structure that controlled clandestine websites, according to the summary. Pending trial, the main defendants are charged with the crimes of animal abuse, drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons and criminal organization.