ARC rescues dogs threatened by drug cartel

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) – Saving animals can be a difficult, even dangerous task.

Even so, dealing with a violent drug cartel should not be part of the expectation.

And yet, that’s exactly what Animal Rescue Corps faced in a harrowing recent rescue in Mexico.

The situation is almost impossible to believe.

A cartel in Mexico was extorting an animal sanctuary there.

The message was simple: pay or we kill all the dogs and your families.

Someone forgot to tell the cartel that most shelters don’t have a lot of money.

The threats were serious, so the shelter made a desperate plea for help. Mobile kennels with 20 rescued dogs had to be loaded onto a chartered plane in Mexico, seeking a quick escape.

“Our friends at the Bissell Pet Foundation received an urgent request to help some dogs facing an uncertain future. They were living and being cared for in a sanctuary in Mexico,” ARC’s Tim Woodward explained in a video statement. But the sanctuary had to close.


The ARC reported that staff and dogs were at serious risk from violent members of drug cartels and gangs.

The message?

Pay or we’ll kill you all.

“And they were in dire need of relocation. These dogs had no other option,” Woodward said.

The sanctuary connected with the Bissell Pet Foundation and the ARC, and both acted quickly.

Only one team member flew from the States to Mexico to help evacuate the animals.

They were all loaded onto a chartered plane and safely flown back to the United States – no contact with the cartel.

“In a few weeks these dogs will be in a house on a couch with a family, and that’s what we’re all working towards,” Woodward said.

It was certainly a rescue like no other.

After landing in Florida, all dogs were brought back to the ARC Emergency Shelter in central Tennessee.

Animal Rescue Corps said its mission is to rescue animals from unlivable or dangerous situations anywhere – whether it’s a puppy mill here in the US or threats from drug cartels down south of the border.

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