By Thomas Hoffman
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“Staff red baby born on August 24 for sale 550 euros non-negotiable. » The advertisement posted on Leboncoin.fr by a resident ofArnouville (Val-d’Oise) had aroused the suspicions of Internet users. Worried about the fate of these puppies, they had alerted the Stéphane Lamart association for the defense and rights of animals.
This is how the investigation by the association’s inspectors began at the beginning of October. The latter then discover the photos accompanying the advertisement and note that the first category puppies offered for sale were held in unworthy conditions.
They lived on top of each other in the trunk of a large freezer, the bottom of which had been covered with straw. It is not known if the door of the freezer remained open or if it could happen that they found themselves locked.
In the process, the association alerts the police services. On October 8, 2022, officials from the Gonesse urban security open an investigation to verify the suspicions weighing on the seller.
This is how on Monday, October 31, 2022, the police went to the home of the 28-year-old man. “But he refused to go out despite the requests of the police,” says Stéphane Lamart. The individual was finally arrested on Wednesday November 2, 2022 at 6 a.m. during an operation carried out under the aegis of the Pontoise public prosecutor’s office.
No puppy during the search
The investigators then proceed to the search of the family home of Arnouville, but they do not however find any puppy. “The man denied their presence at his home. We have no idea what has become of them,” sighs Stéphane Lamart.
With the assistance of the departmental canine unit, the investigators seized two adult dogs found in a shed installed at the bottom of the garden: a pit bull 8 year old male and female American staff one year. “These are the parents of the puppies put up for sale, specifies Stéphane Lamart. They were scared when we picked them up. “While his association took charge of the two animals, they were seen by a veterinarian, before being placed in a shelter.
Dogs neither declared nor vaccinated
The investigation made it possible to establish that the animals were not declared at the town hall, that they were not vaccinated either and were devoid of tattoos and electronic identification chips.
At the end of his police custody, on the instructions of the Pontoise parquetthe respondent was summoned to the Pontoise judicial court for ill-treatment of a domestic animal, carrying out concealed work, possession of an unsterilized first-category attack dog, sale for payment of a first category dog, possession of an undeclared attack dog, refusal to submit to the judicial authorities or to implement the secret convention of deciphering a means of cryptology.
Fight against animal trafficking
For Stéphane Lamart, whose association is a civil party in this case, this case reflects a fundamental problem on the illegal trade in pets that he blames in particular on websites. “Many advertisements for the sale of dogs or cats are posted regularly without any checks being carried out concerning the sellers”, they denounce.
Six years ago, the government had tried to put an end to this parallel market and fight against animal trafficking by imposing on any puppy or kitten seller who posts an ad online, a registration in the commercial register and the Obtaining a Siren number (Business Directory Identification System) from the Chamber of Agriculture. In the event of a breach, no sanction for the hosting site (which is however asked to withdraw the advertisement), but sanctions for the individual: 7,500 euros fine in the event of absence of Siren number, and 750 euros in the event of non-compliance with the mandatory information on the advertisements.
Request for the deletion of the “Animals” section on Leboncoin.fr
A prescription which, if it limited the problem, did not solve it. “It is enough for the fraudsters to recover the Siren number of a real breeder and the ad is published without there being any verification”, underlines Stéphane Lamart.
In June 2021, a demonstration was thus organized by the association in front of the headquarters of the Leboncoin.fr website, in Paris, to demand the removal of the “Animals” section. What the volunteers had not obtained, however.
In addition to online sales, Stéphane Lamart also raises another problem. “According to the statistics service of the Ministry of Justice, 70% of cases of animal abuse are closed without further action while the files that we file, like the other associations, are solid. “On the sidelines of a demonstration organized on October 5, 2022 before the court of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), the latter thus denounced that “many magistrates are still insensitive to the protection and rights of animals”.
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