A court in Barcelona found the owners of pet store chain Mundocachorro guilty or animal abise after inspectors found 135 young dogs and cats kept in “deplorable conditions”.
The abuse dates back to 2015 when reports were made to the animal rights group Faada from people who had purchased animals from the shop which died within days.
Following the denuncias, officers from Barcelona’sGuardia Urbana unit had visited the premises and discovered “135 puppies and kittens kept in deplorable conditions”.
They also discovered 38 puppies kept in isolation and the corpses of 31 animals which had died and were kept in the freezer awaiting incineration.
Prosecutors argued that the accused were “well aware that the animals were provided with adequate medical treatment to prevent diseases that resulted in the death of dozens of young animals”.
Laia Bonnet, councillor in charge of animal rights on Barcelona City Council welcomed the legal first.
“Today is an important day in the struggle for animal rights,” she said in a message posted on Twitter. “The courts have issued for the first time in Spain a sentence of imprisonment and disqualification against a store for the sale of animals for continued mistreatment resulting in death. Barcelona is a city committed to animal welfare!”
Avui és un dia important en la lluita animalista. Els jutjats han dictat per primer cop a Espanya una sentència de presó i inhabilitació contra una botiga de venda d'animals per maltractament continuat amb resultat de mort. Barcelona, ciutat compromesa amb el benestar animal! pic.twitter.com/lE7upNaK22
— Laia Bonet (@laiabonetrull) November 26, 2019
Campaigners have long called tighter regulation at pet shops and urge potential pet owners to instead adopt unwanted animals from shelters instead of fuelling the unscrupulous trade in animals by buying from a store.
Last year alone, more than 138,000 dogs and cats were taken in by shelters across Spain.