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Indian Authorities Look to Bring Dog Smuggling Rings to Heel

Dog half asleep on bed in hotel room

Flights from Eastern Europe and Russia are under increased scrutiny after a string of incidents involving dogs cruelly hidden in checked bags by traffickers for use in underground fights.

Customs officials in India say that flights from Europe and the Russian Federation will be watched carefully for signs of canine trafficking. Officials believe that a number of live dogs discovered concealed in checked bags were destined to be used in illicit blood sports in the country.

“The dogs are sedated or stunned and put in bags,” an unnamed official told The Times of India. “They are sometimes stuffed in between clothes and other items to mask them during scanning. The animal goes through a lot of suffering. It is really painful to see them stuffed in bags.”

Officials say that, in some cases, dogs have been concealed in carry-on bags, as well as several instances in which drugged animals were simply packed into suitcases and checked at the ticket counter. According to the report, the efforts to interdict the dog trafficking operations are primarily focused on flights arriving at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) from former Eastern Bloc countries, including the Russian Federation.

In some cases, the dogs seized by customs officials were rare breeds that are especially popular among dog fight organizers. Once in the country, smugglers hope to be able to sell the hard-to-obtain animals for an enormous profit.

Pet animals, in most cases, are permitted to be brought into India if the proper paperwork is obtained in advance. Smugglers have had little success attempting to get around the strict regulations by reusing or forging official import certificates.

“We have come across several cases where an attempt to recycle the same certificate was made,” the customs official told the newspaper. “Our officers nabbed them each time.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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