TOLEDO – In 2013, a couple from Toledo took a rabies infected dog from Morocco to Spain. There, the animal then bit several children. A court in Toledo has now convicted them for this – ten years later!
Now the Provincial Court of Toledo has upheld the judgment of the Toledo Criminal Court, without any possibility of appeal, and has also ordered the couple to pay the costs of this second trial.
Also read: High risk of rabies in Spain due to low vaccination coverage for dogs
The couple was sentenced to ten months in prison for gross negligence that caused physical injury. They must also pay €30,000 in compensation to the victims. With the exception of Ceuta and Melilla, this was the only case of rabies reported in Spain since the country was declared free from terrestrial rabies in 1978.
The couple were accused of bringing the animal to Spain in violation of health regulations. The rabies infected dog bit his victims, including children, in the face. They suffered permanent damage, despite surgical interventions.
Stopped at the border
The couple travelled to Morocco in December 2012 with their three dogs. In February 2013, they returned to Spain. Because they were unable to present animal passports, vaccination certificates and serological certificates for rabies at customs, they were stopped. However, “instead of complying with health regulations, the suspects chose to avoid border controls by entering Spain through Sebta on April 12, 2013, ” the judges said in their ruling.
The court states that because they had previously been stopped at customs, the couple were fully aware of the risks involved in transporting their dogs without a serological certificate. Moreover, they were expressly informed of the health regulations and explicitly ignored them.
For all these reasons, the court concluded that there had been gross negligence, pointing out that “every dog owner” is aware “of the serious risk of rabies to humans, the animal itself and other animals”.