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    Charleroi: a Chihuahua trafficking network dismantled


    The Federal Agency for Food Security (FAFFS) uncovered a network illegally importing dogs from Prague at the end of March. The animals, which were ordered via Internet, were delivered directly to the buyers. The network totally disrespected the law and put the animal’s health in danger. The Chihuahua trafficking network was dismantled from the Charleroi region at the end of March thanks to the vigilance of a vet. The ring was sourced in Prague (Czech Republic). The Belgian law on importing dogs was changed in 2015. Puppies must now be at least 3 months old and vaccinated at least 2 weeks before they arrive in Belgium.

    Online networks have developed via Facebook. These networks let people buy younger animals, through a deposit. The “smugglers” sometimes discreetly import 15 to 20 dogs at a time and deliver them “ready” to the buyers, often late at night.

    According to a vet involved in the investigation, the sellers make a substantial profit as they avoid all the usual breeding costs. They claim to provide licence numbers and passports, which are mostly fakes. Also, the health of the animals they sell is often put in danger.

    Certain breeds are victims of current fashions, and become the object of industrial breeding. The mothers are regarded as no more than commodities, and kept in awful conditions.

    The AFSCA and the Public Health SPF were able to dismantle this particular Chihuahua trafficking network, but specialists say other new networks are already bending the new laws. The dogs are brought to Belgium and registered here before being sold on.

    Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)