It was one of the biggest seizures in recent years for SPA. In June 2021, veterinary services seized 218 dogs from a farm in Lubbon, north 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 at the Mont-De-Marsan court bar.
“He can’t even give his dogs a home”
Four checks and multiple failures
The seizure of these 258 dogs and puppies is the culmination of a procedure and numerous reports over five years. If in 2016 the first control revealed only minors of incompatibility, everything was carried over from 2018. Many customers complained, reported illnesses, problems with their pets. In 2018, the breeder received an initial formal announcement. During their visit, veterinary inspectors noticed holes in the ground, a dirty floor that had turned muddy with little rain, which was difficult to clean. While the breeder only has authorization for 49 dogs, veterinary services have … 134! A year later, in 2019, dogs were as numerous, 126 instead of the 49 authorized. The breeder has carefully filled the sand holes but new failures have been noticed such as the fence where dogs can put up their muzzles and hurt themselves or bite someone who passes by. By the end of 2021, a new inspection will result in the suspension of activity and the seizure of 218 dogs. Six months later, 40 dogs and puppies will be arrested again.
A “dog factory” or an old breeder
At the helm, the breeder has the answer to everything. If he doesn’t concrete the ground because “Concrete causes skin diseases in dogs“. In one of the photos we see a gaping hole in a wooden dwelling, “It will change soon” he assured. Finally, there is the obvious question: how does he manage more than 200 dogs on his own? “If you work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. it can. I’ve given my whole life to my dogs” defended the accused at the bar. Those dogs were seized six months later? “For my family, I don’t want them to go to the SPA”. For the SPA lawyer it was a simple “dog factory”, but for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation lawyer it was above all a lone breeder, completely overweight. “He’s not a man of bad will, he’s a man of no time, and can’t even give his dogs a home” outlines Me Maréchal-Gaillard in his argument.
Transfer, cash and accounting in Excel spreadsheet
this a economic and financial file (Procureur de la République)
“This is not a case of animal abuse strictly speaking, this is not a case of torture” emphasizes from the beginning of his requisitions the Public Prosecutor. In the eyes of the public prosecutor, this is a “economic and financial file”. Instead, he focuses on the large amount that goes through the money or the accounts of various members of the breeder’s family. How to justify buying most of the cash in an excavator at 8,400 euros, in a BMW at 12,000 euros? “This is the money from my savings, my birthdays, my Christmases” reassures the accused. How to explain these 40,000 euros returned to his mother after the seizure, money that was later placed in an account where the accused himself had the power of attorney? “For many years my mother helped me, after the attack I realized that breeding was over, I wanted to bring her back immediately” the breeder justifies himself. These exchanges of money in the family accounts, it is above all the support of the breeder’s relatives to help him get his head out of the water, says his lawyer, Me Jean-Bernard Peneau. And then what cripples the public prosecutor, in the end, is also this “excel table” that serves as the accounting balance. One of the columns is entirely dedicated to cash payments. The undisclosed payments, for 131,000 euros according to the Public Prosecutor, about 124,000 qualified the accused, who also admitted failing to make the necessary declarations, in the first use of the money, including VAT, to make fix.
I always give everything, do everything for my dogs but I am alone (the breeder)
The repair, investing for more than 100,000 euros, the breeder will underline it on several occasions. “I didn’t lose my leg. I always gave everything, did everything for my dogs but I was all alone. I think I have made some good progress myself. After the works, I have very little breeding “ he assured. For foundation lawyer Brigitte Bardot, the breeder took things the wrong way, had to cut down first and be brought up to standard. “I don’t think he was a torturer, that he loved his animals” the Public Prosecutor testified for his part.
It does not necessarily ban the keeping of an animal, a move called for by lawyers at SPA and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. On the other hand, he required a five-year ban on exercising in the animal profession and also pleaded guilty to two years in prison, fifteen months probation and a fine of 10,000 euros, half of which were suspended.
The verdict is reserved and will be delivered on Oct. 4.