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Vienna, 06.10.2017 Another successful strike against the cruel trade of puppy smuggling Eight poodle pups and 371 cigarette cartons seized

On 6 October 2017, officers from the Klagenfurt Villach Customs Office achieved a further coup in the fight against smuggling. During a routine customs control on a Romanian tour bus on the A2 heading in the direction of Italy, customs officers from customs control operations discovered five live poodle puppies in a small stowage space. When the 28-year-old passenger, of Moldavian/Romanian origin, handed the officers the purported vaccination passports of the 4–6-week-old young puppies, the customs officers immediately noticed that they were quite clearly the documents relating to different dogs.

As a result of their suspicions, the tour bus was taken into the Karawanken Tunnel and underwent an intensive inspection. In addition to service dog Tarek, the ScanMobile, a mobile x-ray inspection device for lorries, buses, containers and goods trucks, was deployed. As a result, three more puppies were discovered in the hollow space of a toilet unit, in dreadful conditions; for these puppies, the occupants of the tour bus were not able to provide any documents.

Service dog Tarek uncovered even more; the five-year-old German/Belgian shepherd dog, who has had combined training and is therefore able to identify cigarettes in addition to all types of drugs, sniffed out 371 cartons of cigarettes of Moldavian origin. Like the puppies, the cigarettes, numbering approximately 75,000, were destined for sale in Italy.

Since the 28-year-old passenger already had a prior administrative conviction for cigarette smuggling in 2016, as well as puppy smuggling in February this year, he was immediately arrested and taken to the Villach police detention centre. He has since been deported and been given a five-year residence ban.

The puppies, which were extremely weak and suffering from hypothermia, were given formula milk once they had been examined by the official vet, and were then taken to the Villach animal shelter. Charges were filed against the perpetrators on grounds of animal torture, document forgery and cigarette smuggling.