Clandestine kennels and fighting cock farms: 100 animals seized in the interventions of Social Rights

Interventions in clandestine kennels, in animal fairs or in fighting cock farms. The General Directorate for Animal Rights, dependent on the Ministry of Social Rights, collaborates with the police and judicial authorities as veterinary technical support in actions in which there are affected animals. "We have generated a tool that helps many professionals from the State Security Forces and Bodies to carry out more rigorous inspections," explains the general director of Animal Rights, Sergio G. Torres.

According to the calculations carried out by Torres, in the interventions that have participated they have seized more than 120 animals over the more than two and a half years that the General Directorate for Animals has been in existence. Among all the actions, he remembers an operation that took place in El Álamo (Madrid). “I have never seen so many fleas on the floor. We had to enter with EPIs”, points out the general manager. They found “about twenty dogs in terrible conditions. They all had a large number of parasites, fleas, ticks and samples of untreated scabies”, add sources from this department.

That was not the only diagnosis made by the Veterinary Intervention Unit (UIV). The dogs, in addition, were in "an obvious state of malnutrition and with an aggressive character, triggered by the atrocious fear of people," they say from the same department.

After the intervention, the owner is waiting for a judicial procedure and those animals that did not have identification are "in custody in an animal protection entity," they point out. The UIV is made up of two veterinarians and one auxiliary, who are officials of the Ministry. They are usually accompanied by Torres. His job is to assess the situation of the different creatures seized in judicial and police operations.

In addition to these technical profiles, in some operations they need professionals with much more specific knowledge. This was the case in the operation that they carried out in September 2021 at an exotic animal fair that was held in Madrid, sources from the General Directorate indicate. In this case, the members of the UIV attended "in civilian clothes" together with members of the judicial unit of the National Police and the environmental unit of the Municipal Police of the Madrid City Council. “We witnessed the sale of a boa constrictor to a minor under 18 years of age. There was an agent who affiliated the two people, the buyer and the seller. Minutes were drawn up for [emitir] a possible sanction and the boa was sent to the Center for the Recovery of Wild Animals (CRAS)”, says Torres.

Not only was the boa seized, but around 30 bats and a python were also seized, the sale of which is "prohibited because they are dangerous animals," the Municipal Police reported at the time. To carry out these operations, they needed a "group of herpetologists to identify the different species that were found there," they indicate in the Ministry. Torres explains that these specialists helped determine if any of the exposed species "was in danger of extinction or if it came from captive breeding."

Not in all cases the animals are seized. According to the calculations of the General Directorate, its workers have participated in the intervention of more than 300 creatures, but only about 120 were requisitioned. In some cases, they are not confiscated because the administration has nowhere to house them, but the animals are taken care of by the police, as explained by the animal department.

Although the operations have affected roosters, bats or horses, most of the creatures seized have been dogs. In Parla (Madrid) they detected "illegal" and "unhealthy" facilities that housed "more than 70 breed dogs dedicated to hunting activity," they indicate. They were in “regrettable conditions” and “unidentified”.

The animals were deposited there "when there was no hunting activity," says Torres, and their owners paid rent for it. This operation was carried out in collaboration with agents from the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Madrid Civil Guard and with personnel from the Animal Welfare Department of the Parla City Council, according to Europa Press. This case is also judicialized and is waiting for the oral hearing to be held, they report from the Consistory.

In these interventions they have come to find "deceased animals in garbage containers". This happened in Torrijos (Toledo), where they went together with the National Police to carry out veterinary expert work. The corpses were found in the facilities of "a protector of animals without regularization as a zoological nucleus”, point out sources from the Ministry.

In one of these veterinary examinations, carried out by the UIV, they have come to find a horse "in an obvious state of malnutrition, with serious health, digestive, dental and nutritional problems." The animal was found in Valdilecha (Madrid). A few kilometers from there, in Chinchón, a municipality that is also located in the Community of Madrid, an intervention was carried out on a “fighting cock farm”. There they detected around 200 specimens. Males had "trimmed crests and spurs." In the same location they also seized "illegal drugs in Spain and expired", as well as "animals with serious injuries".

None of the actions in which the UIV has participated in the last two years “have been definitively closed”, says Torres. According to the data handled by the General Directorate, the sanctioning procedures are still being managed. The government is working in a norm that hardens and standardizes these fines because they currently depend on the regulations of each autonomous community. That text, the Animal Rights Bill, was approved in August in a second round in the Council of Ministers and is currently in Congress.

This norm contemplates, as it has reached Parliament, that in "cases of abuse resulting in death, the prison sentence will be hardened up to 24 months and up to 36 in the event that more than one aggravating circumstance occurs," they indicate. Ministry sources.

With this law, the department of Ione Belarra tries to put an end to the annual abandonment of 300,000 animals a year with the prohibition of uncontrolled breeding and the proposal that all owners of these creatures take a training course before acquiring an animal. . The text also includes the prohibition of pigeon shooting, circuses with wild species and cockfights.

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