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Smuggled Christmas puppies intercepted at border

(SAN DIEGO) 15 two-month-old puppies were discovered earlier this week by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers as a smuggler attempted to bring the puppies into the U.S. at the Tecate Port of Entry.

The puppies, all sick, described as mixed breed miniature poodles, were immediately taken to an emergency veterinary hospital by Animal Control officers with the County Department of Animal Services. The majority of the puppies have been diagnosed with parvo and will be receiving intensive care provided by County Animal Services or an adoption partner.

The alleged smuggler, Raul Jimenez Gonzalez, claimed a bottle of tequila at the border, but CBP officers observed movement in the back seat of the vehicle. The puppies were found hidden in the back seat under a blanket. Jimenez admitted to the officers that he was taking the puppies to Los Angeles to sell as Christmas presents.

Animal Services had previously rescued 27 puppies in 2006 and 11 in 2007 after smuggling attempts involving Jimenez. The Department of Animal Services is working with Customs and Border Protection to determine what, if any, criminal charges can be filed.

“With the holidays approaching, there is a demand for puppies and this demand results in puppies being smuggled across the border into the U.S.,” said Dawn Danielson, Director of Animal Services. “Unfortunately, most of these puppies are sick, so the unsuspecting buyer ends up spending a great deal of money trying to save the puppy’s life, usually without success.”