Spain’s Crackdown On Animal Crimes

Guardia Civil Spearhead Fight Against Animal Crime

Guardia Civil Spearhead Fight Against Animal Crime. Credit:

From exotic birds to big cats, so far this year, authorities have initiated 919 criminal cases related to animal cruelty, leading to the arrest or investigation of 508 individuals.

With a resolution rate exceeding 70 per cent, the Guardia Civil also identified 9,941 breaches of pet and dangerous animal regulations. Additionally, 119 infringements concerning the import, export, and trade of protected wildlife under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have been recorded.

Thirty-Four cases have been linked to the illicit trade of protected or endangered animals, involving 49 individuals. The success rate in solving these cases is an impressive 90 per cent.

In the areas of hunting and fishing, 8,439 administrative and 174 criminal actions have been taken. The number of individuals who have been detained or investigated amounted to 169, boasting a 75 per cent clearance rate.

Moreover, 14 instances of unlawful shellfish harvesting have been identified, resulting in 31 arrests or investigations.

Notable Operations

‘Operation BUCEFALO II’ in Murcia saw the investigation of a farm owner after the discovery of 31 dead horses. Alongside these horses, approximately 20 goats were found, posing a significant health risk to both animals and humans. This individual had faced similar investigations the previous year.

In a joint operation with France’s OCLAESP, ‘Operation Reina 33′ led to the arrest of six individuals for the illegal trade of large cats between Spain and France. Among the confiscated animals were six servals, two caracals, two marmosets, and three macaws, all protected under the CITES Convention.

In Calanda, Teruel, a shocking discovery of around 120 dogs was made on a rabbit farm. These dogs were kept in deplorable conditions, reminiscent of a previous case where the owner had been convicted for cramming 544 dogs into rabbit cages.

In Tenerife, a significant seizure of 46 CITES specimens took place, including 14 invasive species detrimental to the Canary Islands’ ecosystem. The farm’s owner was arrested. Another individual in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria faced arrest for animal cruelty and neglect, with 80 animals, including 15 dogs, being rescued from dire conditions.

Barcelona saw the intervention of 29 protected exotic birds intended for illegal sale. The sellers, who operated a zoo in Murcia, failed to provide the necessary documentation for breeding and trading these birds under the CITES Convention.

In Valencia, an online sale of 19 toxic yellow-headed arrow frogs led to an investigation. Another operation in Valencia resulted in the seizure of 25 Moorish tortoises and two African spur turtles, both protected species in Spain.

Combating Environmental Crimes

The European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) prioritises combating environmental crimes. The Guardia Civil’s SEPRONA unit plays a pivotal role in this initiative and will spearhead efforts against pet trafficking from 2024 onwards.

On September 5, in Madrid, SEPRONA hosted a conference attended by police experts from various EU and South American countries. Representatives from EUROPOL, the Ministry for Democratic Transition, and several animal welfare organisations also participated. The event fostered international collaboration, promoting the exchange of information and best practices.

Caring for Animals: A Reminder From The Guardia Civil

Pets, as sentient beings, deserve respect and care. While they might be treated as family members, it’s crucial to remember their unique needs based on their species.

Before acquiring or adopting an animal, one must understand the responsibilities that come with it. Exotic species, often sought after, can pose significant environmental threats when introduced to non-native habitats. It’s essential to ensure any foreign species are acquired with the necessary guarantees.

Lastly, adoption remains a viable and compassionate alternative to purchasing pets. Numerous animals in shelters await a loving home.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Brian

      05 October 2023 • 15:32

      Well, by the looks of this article, the spanish law is not very good as some people have done this before and obviously not been punished enough….so they go and do it again.

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