Two suspected pet traffickers have been arrested in Geneva, accused of illegally bringing at least 24 puppies and five kittens into Switzerland. The animals were sold online for several thousand francs.This content was published on October 8, 2020 - 14:27
The unknown origin of the animals had been covered up by a Swiss certificate of origin, the Geneva department of safety, labour and health said on Thursday.
Two unidentified cats and Romanian vaccination certificates were found in the suspects’ car during their arrest, which followed months of investigations.
The suspects, one of whom is a repeat offender, mainly sold Maltese dogs and puppies and kittens of various breeds. The animals of unknown origin were subsequently fitted with Swiss microchips by Geneva veterinarians.
Swiss Animal Protection says the illegal trade in pets is booming, with local dog breeders having been unable for years to meet the demand for puppies, especially fashionable breeds such as chihuahuas, pugs and French bulldogs.
As a result, Switzerland is a lucrative market for the puppy trade. The profit margin for foreign dealers averages CHF1,000 ($1,090) per dog.
According to the dog database Amicus, there are currently 524,000 registered dogs in Switzerland. Every second dog comes from abroad, according to Swiss Animal Protection.
The Geneva authorities point out that the lucrative illegal trade in pets is bad not only for the animal: buyers expose themselves to many risks, including rabies. The authorities therefore say it is important to learn about pets online before buying one and to avoid doing business with strangers.