An organised gang had been profiting off of selling small dogs at a high price with fake papers. After nearly a year-long investigation the Spanish police cracked down on the illegal breeders. The police found nearly 270 dogs in horrid conditions and two dead dogs wrapped in newspapers. The small dogs, mostly Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, now await their fate after being handed over to animal charities.
Police raided a house in Madrid, Spain to find cages stuffed with small dogs in the basement of the home. The basement had been segregated into three areas where the animals were bred, kept and sold. Puppies and adults were found in cramped cages. The police also recovered the corpse of two puppies which were frozen and wrapped in newspapers.
Many of the dogs had attenuated barks which made the police suspicious. Tests were conducted on the dogs to reveal that the illegal breeders had debarked some of the dogs. The dogs which were mainly used to breed, had their vocal cords removed. It is suspected that the step was taken by the gang to ensure that the barking dogs did not give away the location of the illegal establishment.
Police arrested five people, the Daily Mail reported. Of the five people, two were veterinarians responsible for supplying material needed to implant the mandatory identification chips and they might have been responsible for the debarking of the dogs as well.
The illegal breeders had registered 1,400 dogs in the Royal Canine Society of Spain to create an appearance of legality. DW revealed that the gang might have made more than €2m (£1.7m) by selling the dogs. Social media was the main platform through which the gang marketed their dogs. Using their social media page customers from all over Europe contacted the breeders.
As the fad for owning small dogs rise, illegal breeders try to increase their output to meet the demand.
Since their rescue, the dogs have been taken in by various animal charities in Spain. The judicial decision regarding the fate of the animals remains pending.