Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Market in Dogs Big Business in Germany

Lured by lower prices for pedigree puppies, German dog lovers are turning to Eastern Europe to find their Fido. But often the cut-price pooches come with diseases and behavioral problems, and sometimes die after just a few days. Animal welfare organizations are trying to halt the trade. Anyone taking up that offer, though, will not only be the proud owner of a new pooch, but also a victim of the Eastern European puppy mafia. In Poland, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine, dogs are being produced for the Western European market on a grand scale -- and in pitiful conditions. Fed on trash and crammed into dirty kennels, the bitches must give birth twice a year until they become infertile.

The puppies are taken to market far too early and are often only four weeks old when they leave their mothers. Small wonder, then, that they have weak immune systems and sometimes suffer from behavioral disorders. "The puppy trade has become a business worth millions," says Birgitt Thiesmann of the international animal charity Four Paws, which has nine offices in Europe. For years, animal welfare activists have been watching the black market for imported dogs grow. The Internet has accelerated the trade. There, the dogs are presented as if they were coming from responsible dog breeders.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

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