Three subjects were charged with more than 12 crimes after using an alleged animal protection foundation as a screen to commit their misdeeds, causing irreparable damage to animals and innocent people who trusted in their good faith and made generous contributions to assist the animals.
The Attorney General of the Republic reported that three subjects: Jonathan Palacios (of Colombian nationality), Yilmar Campos and Anyelli Parada, who called themselves directors of an animal rescue foundation called Fundabolívar, were charged with aggravated fraud, illegal possession of wildlife , association to commit a crime, money laundering, fraud, improper handling of dangerous substances, incitement to hatred, breach of the National Security Regime, violation of the privacy of communications, fraudulent use of electronic equipment, instigation to disobedience of the laws and usurpation of functions.
On February 19, the Prosecutor's Office raided the headquarters of Bolivar case (Táchira), an organization created to obtain resources in foreign currency under the illegal facade of being an “animal protection” NGO. The Táchira State Veterinary Medical Association specified that more than 60% of the animals are in poor condition, according to the information published by local media in the Táchira state at the time of the raid on the farm where the alleged animal protection foundation operated.
«The modus operandi of this band was to attract people to scam them, promising them a supposed lottery raffle called“ Pick 3 ”from the state of Florida (USA): the prize would be a country house that did not exist, the money was raised by Adriana Arreaza through a Bank Of America account located in Jacksonville (Florida) that was then sent to Colombia through Zelle, Paypal, Western Union and Bancolombia. The #animals that these subjects had in state #deplorable they are already #except under the care of State institutions ”, reads the prosecutor's message on his Twitter social network account.
Complaints after complaints
According to the report made by the newspaper La Nación At the time the raid on the farm was carried out, the Ministry of Ecosocialism would take charge of the 42 wild animals found in the refuge: 4 monkeys, a yellowtail, 8 birds and 28 turtles; the National Institute of Integral Agricultural Health (Insai), would take care of 11 sheep, 1 goat, 1 horse and 3 poultry. And one person would be in charge of the domestic animals: 220 dogs and more than 100 cats while the situation of FundaBolívar was defined.
Many rescuers, despite the pandemic, approached the scene and witnessed the deplorable state of the animals. The report made by the newspaper Frontera Viva includes many testimonies of the complaints that they made for more than a year, both through social networks, and directly before the prosecution.
The biologist and protector of wildlife, Diana Duque, told the newspaper Living Frontier that Jonatan Palacios “mistreated and exposed an elderly woman who sued him for violence against women. He snatched his monkey to take it to a dog shelter and they kept it in a cage, in deplorable conditions when the lady had him in perfect health -even when he should not have a wild animal, they (Fundabolívar) - did not have the authority either. To undertake those attributions.
The specialist denounced that she has made illegal seizures of fauna, the authority in charge of seizures being the Ministry of Ecosocialism. The animals inside the refuge and the days they offer are attended by veterinary technicians and the referred specialty (career) does not exist in Venezuela
Unlicensed vets performed euthanasia
Diana Liz Duque, biologist and director of the Mono-Araña Project, for the protection of the Caparo forest (Barinas) and its fauna, denounced Jonatan Palacios from FundaBolívar, of having committed a series of irregularities with wildlife and dogs, intervening them without being a specialist or a veterinarian.
He said that the foundation did not have a refuge for wildlife, graduate veterinarians "and they do not know how to handle wild animals, but they do not consult with specialists either," added the Venezuelan biologist.
They carried out illegal releases of monkeys and birds, condemning them to death. They mishandled different animals to make viral videos causing them stress, abuse and death. In other cases, unauthorized people have euthanized dogs when it is the sole function of veterinarians, she added.
“Palacios only cares about registering the media show to post it on the networks. He himself takes care of recording himself, applying techniques that are not appropriate and what increases is the mistreatment of animals. These are eight videos where two dogs were used that were serious, without giving professional veterinary attention. They lengthened their agony for some videos ”, denounced the specialist.
Owners of animal shelters, denounce that this type of practice was common in FundaBolivar, since Palacios arrived.
“A Pitbull breed dog was taken from its owner, who went to the Public Prosecutor's Office to file the complaint and they did not return the animal. Then a young man was chased by Palacios and stripped of his pincher dog on a San Antonio street, said Angela Reyes, owner of the “La Manada de Reyes” pet shelter. When Palacios began to question the number of dogs he had under guard, he went to the Colón road, Ayacucho municipality of the Táchira state and took away 14 dogs that a woman in that town was looking after.
«Bolivar case It was an organization created with humanistic principles that governed it for a time, but this function was diverted. The animals are not protected, benefits are obtained by them and those who administer the foundation acted illegally by appropriating wild fauna, and the diversion of resources from donations has also been evidenced, "he said.
Other people who wanted to make small donations, such as a bag of doggie, homemade food or just some cash, were rejected by Palacios, claiming that he only received «great contributions"Because with that alms he did nothing," said a protectionist who preferred to keep her identity.