It seems that trafficking does not only happen amongst people – with animals, too.
Spanish police have rescued more than 400 animals, mostly dogs and cats, from a trafficking ring in this western European country.
The perpetrators, the gang, are suspected of illegally importing these animals from eastern Europe via Andorra to Spain before selling them for profits. However, their illegal activities reportedly spanned various establishments not just in Andorra, but also in Madrid and Catalonia.
The gang has also been accused of forging documents to say the animals were perfectly healthy for sale when, in fact, they were not.
The joint police operation that recovered the animals took place last month, three years after officers in Barcelona received various complaints about the derelict conditions at a pet shop in the city center. They found 33 sick dogs in the pet shop.
Last Wednesday, the authorities said that some of the animals recovered – some of which even have breeds with high market value – were illegally purchased online.
Many of those animals were transported by road on long trips, and often in unsanitary and cramped conditions.
Due to those, many of the animals have started to develop infectious and contagious illnesses, which then were spread to other animals they were being sold with.
Authorities have already arrested thirteen people on charges that include animal abuse, money laundering, labor exploitation, forgery, and fraud.
The animals have since been transferred to a certified veterinarian to receive the care they need.