The Madrid Public Prosecutor’s Office has reached an agreement in accordance with 19 of the 23 accused of integrating a network that organized illegal dog fights nationally and internationallyto those who administered doping substances to improve their performance and subjected to “cruel mistreatment” since birth, legal sources have reported.
The macro trial started this Monday at the Madrid Provincial Court in a first session focused on closing the agreements planned months before for the reduction of sentences. In the dock sits a local police officer from Adeje (Tenerife), two veterinarians and several dog breeders.
The prosecutor requested sentences of between three and seven years in prison for crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, animal abuse and omission of the obligation to prosecute crimes, depending on the case and which added up to a total of 102 years. In the cause is Podemos and the Association Saving Angels Without Wings.
At the beginning of the hearing, the defenses of 19 defendants have reached an agreement in accordance with the prosecutor before the recognition of the imputed crimes. Popular accusations have refused to join the pact with the prosecutor.
Under the agreement, the penalties to be imposed in the case of the 19 defendants who have accepted will be significantly reduced by the application of a mitigation of undue delay and reparation of damage. Not everyone will have both mitigations applied.
The network was dismantled in 2017 in an operation carried out by the National Police in Madrid, Alicante, Murcia, Tenerife and Andalusia. The agents rescued 230 potentially dangerous dogs prepared to participate in dog fights.
The investigation began after agents broke into an event that was being held in Tenerife and in which four illegal fights were planned, organized by a criminal group that supplied anabolics to dogs and was financed by drug trafficking.
In the Community of Madrid, six of the defendants operated, with those nicknamed ‘Rafa’ –the “teacher”– and ‘Profe’ as main leaders, as well as a veterinarian who collaborated with the organization.
In his indictment, the prosecutor points out that the network trained dogs of potentially dangerous breeds based on drugs and doping substances “very harmful to dogs” with the aim of making them more aggressive and thus improve their performance, recovery and increase. muscular.
Thus, the animals are subjected to a situation of “cruel mistreatment” from birth, with punishments, inadequate feeding and “hard” physical training.
From the Prosecutor’s Office it is noted that treadmills were even used to develop their muscular capacities and aerobic resistance “taking the animal to exhaustion.”
If the dog did not die in the fight and was seriously injured, they used it as a “sparring” or killed them “when they were no longer useful for their purposes, the members of the organization moving throughout the national territory or abroad, with the sole object of measuring the degree of aptitude of a dog for fighting”.
Among the members of this organization there was a division of functions and also a territorial one with “clearly” identified groups that acted in Madrid, the Canary Islands, Alicante, Murcia, Almería and Málaga.
In their territories they formed small interconnected groups that, in turn, had ramifications at the international level, to take to countries like Italy, France, Mexico, Thailand or the United Arab Emirates “dogs that stood out for their aggressiveness.”
The Prosecutor’s Office also points out that each group distributed the functions in a hierarchical manner, so that while some were in charge of organizing the fights, others dedicated themselves to raising and training the dogs and a third group participated in the events “betting on the same “.
The defendants, many of them breeders of dangerous dogs, agreed in writing before the celebration of each fight the conditions of the combat, the money that was at stake, the weight of the dogs that were going to fight, the penalty in case of not appearing, the referee, date and place.
Only members of the organization could participate in these activities, “or other people who were sponsored by one of its members, with all members of the organization specialized in this matter, and having their own jargon,” according to the indictment. .
IMPLEMENTATION IN THE COMMUNITY OF MADRID
In the case of the Community of Madrid, the leader was known as ‘Rafa’, with a clear leadership role within the organization –the “master”– and was in charge of maintaining contacts outside of Spain. Specifically, in a “headhunter” role, he had several dogs that he raised on a farm in Batres and there he held “topas” (confrontations prior to a fight) in order to select the most aggressive and best trained in order to promote his launch into international fights, “where the profit obtained was always much higher”.
In the registry carried out on his farm, 22 dogs were found “in an unfortunate state of health and hygiene.” Half of them died due to their state of health, “being necessary to carry out humane euthanasia on several of them.”
BREED FOR TRAINING IN A RING
In another farm located in the municipality of Fuente El Saz de Jarama, another dog kennel was located for training in a ring to hold fights. In addition, he performed advisory functions to other members of the group in matters of breeding, care and training of animals.
On his farm, 17 dogs were found, most of them females for breeding, some of them with scars and open wounds, tied to short chains and surrounded by dirt and excrement.” In this place, another of the defendants was in charge of supervising the functions of training and supplied the dogs with “specific medication to enhance their aggressiveness with a view to holding fights, in the case of drugs and doping substances that are very strong and harmful to the health of the dogs”.
Among the group of six defendants who operated in the community of Madrid is also a veterinarian in charge of facilitating the administrative documentary support necessary for the identification, transport and possession of the dogs, “medication that is exclusively veterinary supply”.
At the same time, he contributed his knowledge about the medical treatment of dogs, “knowing the illicit activity that the other defendants were practicing” with the dogs.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the defendant was perfectly aware of the state in which the dogs were found and the origin of their injuries, “avoiding with his advice that the dogs had to be transferred to a veterinary clinic where the injuries presented and the state would be suspected. of the animals”.