DOG owners across Spain have been warned to be vigilant after a spate of recent pet thefts especially of large breed dogs.
Police have warned that dogs are being stolen in order by criminal gangs for use in hunting or illegal dog fights.
Marisa Mendez, who set up a WhatsApp group to find lost dogs in Madrid explained in an interview to the Olive Press “There are more dogs that have gone missing than are abandoned, some of them never appear.”
According to the Guardia Civil, the dogs are pre-ordered by the buyer in the black market and the thieves often target big dogs because they are better for hunting or dog fights.
However, the force explained that in many cases they fear the dogs are never reported stolen because the owners had failed to have them microchipped and registered, which is a legal requirement in Spain.
For that reason, the Spanish authorities urge owners to be responsible and have their pets microchipped as this means they can be easily identified.
One of the breeds most at risk of theft is the greyhound – galgo in Spanish – because they are used in illegal races where a lot of money is gambled.
Patricia Garcia, who is a member of the animal shelter ACUNR, told the Olive Press: “ We found a Spanish Galgo this week when a member of a criminal gang involved in stealing dogs was trying to sell it” .
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