The animal protection squad of the Guardia Civil, SEPRONA, have intervened in 595 cases involving domestic animals introduced into Spanish households in irregular circumstances.
As part of operation “Argos”, officers from SEPRONA inspected 21,340 animals which were in 2,208 individual actions in establishments engaged in the sale of animals. The end result has seen 16 people charged with offences for the sale of animals, transfer of animals in unsuitable vehicles, falsifying passports, certificates and veterinary examinations, and the officers have filed 1,309 complaints of criminal and administrative offenses.
The investigation began when officers were made aware of animals being transported with irregular documentation, mostly from Eastern Europe, being brought into both Spain and Portugal. Whilst transported in unsuitable vehicles, often without adequate sanitation, they were sold for the lowest prices and had documents falsified which would incorrectly report their pedigree credentials.
The investigators then set about creating a plan of action to routinely examine both the transport methods and establishments suspected of being involved, and in December they began implementing their plan.
In a statement, the Guardia Civil point out that the organised crime networks operating in this field exploit consumer vulnerabilities and ignorance of procedures and requirements to acquire pets. The objective of the Guardia Civil Guard was to ensure that the citizen who wants to take on the responsibility of welcoming a pet into their home are not the subject of fraud, and that the animals meet the expectations that have been promised, including breed, credibility and country of origin. They also sought to ensure the welfare of the animals and that the documents correlated to the animal in question, especially relating to their health and wellbeing.
During the course of the investigation, the officers found that Slovakia was a key point of origin, whereas many of the animals would simply pass through Spain on their journeys to new homes in other countries such as Germany and Italy, so the operation in preventing theft has also protected consumers in other countries.
The reports from the Guardia Civil do not mention what has subsequently happened to the animals, mostly puppies, involved in this case.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42478/
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