Six veterinarians and 26 hunters in Huelva, Andalusia have been arrested by the Civil Guard's specialist Seprona unit over mutilating dogs by cutting off parts of their ears and tails, mostly outside of operating rooms and without anesthetic.
— Guardia Civil (@guardiacivil) February 17, 2016
The veterinarians arrested are accused of falsifying documents to allow the procedure, which is illegal under Andalusian law.
“It is unbelievable that veterinarians in this country could do this,” Spain's Animal Rights Party (PACMA) president Silvia Barquero told The Local. “This is a crime of extreme mistreatment of animals.”
Many of the hunters performed the mutilations without going to a veterinarian in order to avoid paying €40 for a medical visit, according to El Pais.
Those who went to veterinarians reportedly promised the doctors exclusive access to all of the animals in their hunting groups in exchange for performing the procedure.
Andalusia made it illegal in 2003 to perform operations on animals “with exclusively aesthetic purposes, or without purpose, unless it is something that would be practiced by a veterinarian.”
But some hunters go to places like neighbouring Extremadura to perform the operation on their dogs in order to circumvent Andalusia’s law, according to El Pais.