Eight Pomeranian puppies smuggled into the United States from Russia were intercepted by authorities at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Two 27-year-old Russian citizens arrived at LAX from Moscow on Aug. 9, declaring that they were bringing four dogs with them on their vacation to Mexico, a press release reads.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, later found that the puppies’ vaccine paperwork had been forged because the puppies were “too young to receive rabies vaccination.”
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers also discovered four more puppies “hidden in an abandoned carry-on bag left by the travelers in the inspection area.”
Both travelers eventually admitted that they smuggled the eight puppies into the U.S. in order to sell them, one traveler stating that she expected to get paid $600 for the job.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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Pomeranians are considered a luxury breed, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Puppies can sell from $500 to up to $1,500 depending on the dog’s pedigree.
The two travelers and all eight puppies have been sent back to Russia.
“According to the CDC, smuggled puppies is an issue of concern because of the high-risk of human exposure to deadly animal diseases including rabies,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP Area Port Director of the Los Angeles International Airport, said in a statement. “We strongly advise travelers to become familiar with regulations about bringing their pets into the United States.”