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Post Info TOPIC: Mandatory Spay/Neuter - Foreign Equation (4)

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Mandatory Spay/Neuter - Foreign Equation (4)

The Foreign Equation

Many of the groups that import dogs into the United States from foreign
lands are working from excellent motives: To save innocent dogs that have
horrible lives in the lands of their birth.

Organizations such as Compassion Without Borders, of Santa Rosa, CA, and
Fund for Animals, Vacaville, CA, rescue hundreds of dog in Mexico every year
and bring them to California shelters for adoption. Another program, called
Save A Sato, has brought in 14,000 dogs from the streets of Puerto Rico, and
some of them have gone to California. Dogs are flown to the U.S. almost
daily from Puerto Rico. Other West Coast programs focus on dogs from Korea
and Taiwan.

We do not criticize the motivation of these groups, although we do question
their impact on domestic dog programs in the United States. We also are
concerned that many of these rescued Mexican dogs have potential health
problems, including rabies, which is rampant in Mexico.

There have been only two cases of canine rabies in the U.S. over the past
decade, and both involved dogs brought in by foreign rescue programs. In
2004, a rabid dog from Mexico ended up in Los Angeles. Another rabid dog
came from Puerto Rico to the East Coast.

Rescue groups, however, are not the major risk factor, and probably
represent a small percentage of the dogs entering California from Mexico.

In only two weeks in December, 2005, a sting operation by the U.S. Customs
Service and 14 California law enforcement agencies and animal welfare
organizations uncovered 1,579 dogs being smuggled from Mexico into
California at just two border checkpoints, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.

Smuggled dogs were found in 1,157 different vehicles, and included 362 young
puppies, 155 older puppies and 1,061 mature dogs, Customs reported.

Customs found a literal tidal wave of illegal canine immigration for profit,
complete with well-organized supply lines, "coyotes" and "mules."

Based on that two-week tally, Customs estimates that at least 10,000 dogs
are smuggled into California from Mexico every year at just those two border
crossing points. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
estimates that up to 300,000 dogs are smuggled into the U.S. every year.

These are not rescue dogs. These are dogs smuggled into the U.S. for profit.

An Associated Press reporter covering the story described the reality of
this smuggling enterprise: "Typically small breeds like poodles and
Chihuahuas (are chosen)," reporter Elliott Spagat wrote, "(and) the puppies
are believed to be purchased in Mexico for between $50 and $150, then sold
at street corners, parking lots and flea markets in Southern California for
between $300 and $1,000 each."

Smugglers regard the puppy trade as safer than the drug trade, as the
penalties for getting caught are much less severe, as are the risks. But the
profits are equally high. Other sources report that dog smuggling is used by
some illegal immigrants as a way to finance relocation to the United States.

Many of these dogs come from the worst possible conditions, and have been
exposed to a variety of communicable diseases. Many get sick and die shortly
after they are purchased in the U.S.

The influx of smuggled dogs from Mexico has continued unabated since the
2005 sting, and it is reported that many of these dogs end up in Santa
Barbara County.

  Christina Ghimenti
PawPrint Boxers
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