This is one of the biggest seizures in recent years for the SPA. In June 2021, veterinary services seized 218 dogs from a farm in Lubbon, in the northern part of Landes. Six months later in December 2021, 40 dogs were seized again. This Tuesday, June 28, 2022, the breeder, a 42-year-old woman, had to explain herself in the bar at the Mont-De-Marsan court.
“She was not even able to give her dogs a home”
Four controls and many errors
The seizure of these 258 dogs and puppies is the culmination of a procedure and several reports over five years. If an initial check in 2016 revealed only minor deviations, everything was torn with from 2018. Several customers complained, reported diseases, problems with their pets.
In 2018, the breeder received a first opening letter. During their visit, the veterinary inspectors noticed holes in the ground, a dirt floor that gets muddy at the slightest rain that is difficult to clean. While the breeder only has authorization for 49 dogs, the vet has … 134!
A year later, in 2019, the dogs are still just as many, 126 instead of the 49 approved. The breeder has filled the holes well with sand, but new bugs have been noted, such as the fence where dogs can put their muzzle and injure themselves or bite a person coming too close. Finally, in 2021, a new inspection will lead to a cessation of activity and the seizure of 218 dogs. Six months later, 40 dogs and puppies will be seized again.
A “dog factory” or an outdated breeder
At the helm, the breeder has the answer to everything. If she did not emphasize the earth, it is because “concrete causes skin diseases in dogs“. In one of the pictures we can see a gaping hole in a wooden shelter, “it would soon be changed” she assures. Finally, there is an obvious question: how could she handle over 200 dogs alone? “If you work from 6am to 11pm, it can be done. I gave my whole life to my dogs” defending defendant at the bar. The dogs seized six months later? “It was for my family, I did not want them to end up at the SPA”.
For the SPA’s lawyer, it’s simply a ‘dog factory’, but for the lawyer from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, it’s above all a breeder alone, totally overwhelmed. “He’s not one with bad intentions, he’s someone who did not have time and who was not even able to give his dogs a home” Me Maréchal-Gaillard emphasizes in his argument.
Transfers, cash and accounts in Excel spreadsheets
It is a economic and financial affairs (Procureur de la République)
“It is not strictly a case of animal cruelty, it is not a case of torture” emphasizes from the beginning of his requisitions the Attorney General. In the eyes of the Attorney General, it is one “economic and financial affairs”. In return, he points to the large sums going through in cash or to the accounts of the various members of the breeder’s family. How is the purchase largely justified in cash by an excavator for 8,400 euros, by a BMW for 12,000 euros? “It’s the money from my savings, my birthdays, my Christmases” assures defendant. How to explain these about 40,000 euros repaid to her mother after the seizure, money that the latter puts in an account on which the defendant himself has a power of attorney? “My mother helped me a lot for years, after the attack I understood that the breeding was over, I wanted to pay her back immediately” the breeder justifies himself.
These exchanges of money in the family accounts, it is above all the support of the relatives of the breeder to help her get her head out of the water, says her lawyer, Me Jean-Bernard Peneau. The lawyer has endeavored to highlight “true goodwill” by his client. She has “sought at all times a solution to get out of the difficulties she was in, in terms of personal, financial, human investment”.
And so what makes the Attorney General shake, finally, is also this “excel table” that serves as an accounting balance. One of the columns is dedicated exclusively to cash payments. Unannounced payments, for 131,000 euros, according to the Public Prosecutor, qualify about 124,000 the defendant, who also admits not to have made the necessary statements, to first use the money including VAT to make the repairs.
I always gave everything, did everything for my dogs, but I was completely alone (the breeder)
Repairs, investments of more than 100,000 euros, the breeder will emphasize it on several occasions. “I have not lost my footing. I always gave everything, did everything for my dogs, but I was completely alone. I think I made good progress on my own. After work I had to reduce the breeding little by little “ she assures. For the lawyer for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, the breeder took things in the wrong way, should have reduced in the beginning and brought up to the standard. “I think she was not a torturer, she loved her animals” says the Public Prosecutor for his part.
It does not require the ban on keeping an animal, a measure that is nevertheless required by the lawyers of the SPA and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. On the other hand, he demands a five-year ban on the profession of animals and also demands two years ‘imprisonment, fifteen months’ conditional imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 euros, half of which is conditional.
The verdict is reserved and will be handed down on October 4.