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Grabbing dog by scruff, dragging it to an unsterile place to have an unmonitored test, and then injecting the dog with an experimental vaccine—all in the name of “saving dogs” in Mexico.
The U.S. government has long been on high alert for illegal shipments of dogs headed to Mexico, and in December 2019, a major bust was announced. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sd it had seized more than 1,400 kilograms (3,100 pounds) of dog meat in U.S. ml shipments destined for the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.
The government sd the dog meat was to be shipped to Mexican restaurants. That would have been a fine story if it were true. But the government announced it had also seized shipments of “live” dogs, including puppies, that it sd had been seized from pet stores that were attempting to ship them to the United States. In all, the government sd, it had seized at least 2,900 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of live animals from pet stores and breeders in five states and Washington, D.C.
The U.S. government sd it had evidence that many of the animals had been abused or were at risk of abuse.
But now, the government’s own investigation has cast new light on one particular pet store owner: A U.S. citizen who owns a pet store in Yakima, Washington, about 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of Seattle, has admitted to trafficking in dogs for years and has been fined thousands of dollars by the U.S. government for doing so.
It wasn’t just any pet store. The pet store is the largest one in the country that sells puppies, according to the store owner, Daniel Pinedo.
This person is a licensed veterinarian and he has been doing this for years, trafficking dogs in and out of Mexico. The dogs were exported to Mexico to be eaten and they were taken out of Mexico and brought back into the United States so the meat could be exported for human consumption.
The owner of the pet store is a U.S. citizen.
“A lot of people, especially in the United States, they think about dogs being pets,” sd Ana Castillo, an immigration attorney who works with detned dogs and the director of the non-profit organization Border Angels in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. “People in Mexico have a different culture with dogs and they eat dog meat.”
Many U.S. citizens would not have access to the kind of veterinary care that would allow them to get a dog that’s in good shape and healthy enough to be used as a pet, she sd.
“The dogs that are smuggled into the United States,” she added, “are ones that have been mistreated. They’ve been neglected, and they’ve been kept in cages for a long period of time.”
This isn’t an easy story to tell, as it often is in stories about dogs, who have an innate desire to get away. They are hard to hold. And they bite.
Dogs are not just pets, but also symbols of affection, and they provide comfort to people when they are afrd or lonely.
And yet there is something sad about the dogs that are taken across the border and sold for profit, the ones that are taken to restaurants where they are slaughtered and cooked, and the ones that are kept in cages so that people can pet them and feed them.
Mexico is a country with a complicated history with dogs. In some ways, the country’s love affr with canines is very old. The Spanish brought dogs with them to Mexico from Europe, and those dogs and wolves and coyotes continue to live side by side.
“Mexico is one of the only countries in the world where the indigenous population does not eat dog meat,” sd Ana Castillo.
In the 21st century, that isn’t the case. “There are places in Mexico where it’s part of the culture to eat dog meat, and there are also places where it’s not,” she sd.
“We’ve also seen a lot of dogs come in and go out,” she added. The dogs, some of them are being bred for dog meat, some of them are being bred for pet purposes and some of them are being bred for purposes that we’re still figuring out.”
Many of the animals taken out of Mexico in January came from one particular pet store in Yakima, the largest such store in the United States.
The store owner, Daniel Pinedo, is a U.S. citizen. The government has accused him of shipping dogs to Mexico for several years.
“I’m not hiding it, I’m not trying to conceal it,” Pinedo sd. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”
Pinedo and the government have had several disagreements about what he has been doing.
At first, Pinedo sd he had a contract with a Mexican importer, a man who Pinedo sd would pay him $200 a month for each dog he brought into the United States.
“The government accused me of paying money for dogs in Mexico, which I didn’t do,” Pinedo sd.
When Pinedo learned the government had evidence that he had been making dog meat shipments, he sd he asked his lawyer to try to stop the investigation. He did, Pinedo sd. He was successful in stopping the case agnst him in Washington state. He was also successful in stopping the investigation of him in Mexico.
That investigation, however, continued for several years in a different area of Mexico. At the same time that the investigation was being conducted, Pinedo sd he had sold more than 1,000 dogs to pet