The number of puppies being smuggled from Mexico into the United States dropped in 2006, according to preliminary findings by the Border Puppy Task Force, a consortium of 22 California animal and health agencies.
The task force monitored United States-Mexico international border crossings in California at San Ysidro and Otay Mesa from Nov. 27 to Dec. 10 and concluded that the number of puppies smuggled in from Mexico dropped from 2005 to 2006, although specific findings aren’t yet available.
During the two-week operation, U.S. Customs officers directed drivers with animals to secondary inspection areas, where humane and animal control officers interviewed people and gathered statistics on the animals. Several puppies were seized during the operation for various reasons, according to the task force.
“Even though the number of underage puppies seized during the operation dropped from last year, the issue is still relevant and we are concerned that smugglers are finding new ways to bring puppies over,” said SPCA-LA President Madeline Bernstein.
“The only way to truly end this problem is for consumers not to purchase puppies at swap meets, parking lots or by answering ads,” Bernstein said.
Smuggled puppies increase the risk of rabies, disease epidemics and fraudulent business transactions, animal officials say.
Findings from the operation will be reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Health Services, and the Los Angeles and San Diego county health departments.