A cynical crook who bled cats and dogs to death to sell their blood to scientists and vets is facing animal cruelty charges.
Police and animal experts rescued 240 dogs, cats and rabbits from the sick surgery near the Spanish capital Madrid.
Tragically, some pet owners who could no longer cope would leave their cats at the secret blood farm believing they would be cared for.
Animals would face an agonising death before their blood was sold to laboratories and blood banks supplying veterinary surgeries.
To speed up the process – say justice officials – some would be pierced through the heart to make the blood flow more quickly.
Police say the illegal trade had been going on for nine years.
Most of the rescued dogs were greyhounds as the breed’s blood is known to be a match for most types of canines.
In a statement obtained by news agency Newsflash on Friday, 17th June, officials said they had been able “to free 240 animals, mainly greyhounds, rabbits and cats that were being kept in terrible conditions.”
Police also said they shut down a secret lab nearby where animal blood and plasma were stored before being sold all over Europe.
Horrifying footage obtained from Spanish police show emaciated dogs being kept in appalling conditions before their rescue.
One is shown with a huge open sore on her shoulder.
Another lies motionless on the ground with the only sign of life being its twitching tail.
Police say they found the brutalised remains of animals at the shocking blood factory which clearly had not died of natural causes.
Investigators said the raid had taken place on Monday, 13th June, adding: “The person in charge of the facilities was a citizen of Moroccan nationality who also helped with extracting the blood.”
The suspect, they added, did not have a single veterinary qualification.
A second man – said to be the businessman behind the blood farm – was also arrested but not named.
Speaking about the Moroccan national, the police added: “To obtain larger quantities of blood, he punctured the animals directly in the left ventricle, causing the death of dogs, cats or rabbits due to hypovolemic shock.”
The police said that because there was no registration and no licences issued to the illegal business, it had been able to operate “in the most absolute secrecy”.
Blood would then be “sold to veterinary centres and animal hospitals throughout Spain” and in other European countries including France, Portugal, Belgium and Italy.
Spain’s Public Prosecutor’s Office said that between April and May 2022, there were 60 animals which had died from being “exsanguinated”, or bled to death.
They estimate the market value of the blood at about EUR 80 for 400 milligrams of dog blood or 40 milligrammes of cat blood.