On Monday evening, 15 2-month-old puppies were discovered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers as a smuggler attempted to bring the puppies into the U.S. at the Tecate Port of Entry to be sold as Christmas presents.
The sick puppies, all described as mixed breed miniature poodles, were immediately taken to an emergency veterinary hospital by Animal Control officers with the County Department of Animal Services. The majority of the puppies has been diagnosed with parvo and will be receiving intensive care provided by County Animal Services or an adoption partner.
The alleged smuggler, Raul Jimenez Gonzalez, claimed a bottle of tequila at the border, but CBP officers observed movement in the back seat of the vehicle. The puppies were found hidden in the back seat under a blanket.
Jimenez admitted to the officers that he was taking the puppies to Los Angeles to sell as Christmas presents. Animal Services had previously rescued 27 puppies in 2006 and 11 in 2007 after smuggling attempts involving Jimenez. The Department of Animal Services is working with Customs and Border Protection to determine what, if any, criminal charges can be filed against Jimenez.
“With the holidays approaching, there is a demand for puppies and this demand results in puppies being smuggled across the border into the U.S.,” said Dawn Danielson, Director of Animal Services.
“Unfortunately, most of these puppies are sick, so the unsuspecting buyer ends up spending a great deal of money trying to save the puppy’s life, usually without success.”
The Department of Animal Services encourages people to visit their local animal shelters or contact a rescue group to adopt a pet during the holidays. For more information on adoptions at any of the three County Animal Shelters, or to view photos of available animals, please visit http://www.sddac.com.