There’s been lots of attention lately on the smuggled stash of puppies rescued at the Tecate border this week. The fifteen sickly puppies were being smuggled into the United States through Mexico, apparently for sale as Christmas gifts. The miniature poodle mixes were promptly dubbed the “Christmas puppies.”
But it’s not just a Christmas thing. Customs and Border Protection officials have estimated that as many as 10,000 puppies are smuggled across the border in any given year, according to this Customs and Border Protection article from 2006. The problem apparently merited its own task force: A Border Puppy Task Force was created in 2004 as a result of complaints from owners who had bought sick dogs that ended up being traced to Mexico. The task force is comprised of 14 California animal welfare and law enforcement agencies.
As with drugs, the business is inspired by profit. The puppies (typically smaller breeds such as poodles and Chihuahuas) may be purchased for between $50 and $150 in Mexico and sold for between $300 and $1,000 in the United States, according to this Associated Press report in 2006.
Sometimes dogs are smuggled across with even more ulterior motives. Learn about some puppies that were being used as drug mules. In other cases, dogs are the unsung heroes in the ongoing war against drugs. Here’s a story about a drug-sniffing dog that sniffed out 68 pounds of cocaine hidden in a car.
Photo NOT of sumuggled puppies. Photo used through Creative Commons License. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9523689@N08/3176162046