On September 23, 2021, Light, an 11-year-old bichon, disappeared, stolen by three young girls, two minors and one major. The landlord eventually finds the apartment where they hid, and threatens to call the police. The thieves then throw the dog out the window. His jaw is fractured, his vital prognosis is engaged but Légère survives this fall.
Drunk during his arrest
A year later, the young adult, who was 18 at the time of the events and then unknown to the police, was tried on Tuesday morning at the Dunkirk Criminal Court. She received a 6-month suspended prison sentence, i.e. half of the requisitions of the public prosecutorand a 10-year ban on keeping an animal, this time double the requisitions.
At the same time, it will have to pay more than 10,000 euros, including the sum of 400 € in damages and 800 € in legal costs to the 8 associations constituted as civil partiesincluding the associations Stéphane Lamart and the National Society for the Defense of Animals (SNDA), represented by Maître Patrice Grillon. “It is a simple and non-probationary reprieve, regret the lawyer. There will be no sociological follow-up, in relation to his work and his addiction to alcohol, it’s a bit of a shame.” Because the young woman was drunk during her arrest, during which she rebelled by hitting the police officers.
The law has toughened the penalties: up to five years in prison
For Master Patrice Grillon, beyond the decision, this drama highlights animal abuse. “This helps to raise awareness, we are talking about it more and more, even at the highest level of the state. In December 2021, a law was passed to toughen the penalties.” While animal abuse was punishable by two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros, the penalties today are from three to five years in prison and a fine of up to 70,000 euros. “You can toughen the laws, you don’t change the hearts of men”adds the lawyer, who has handled hundreds of similar cases over the past twenty years.
For his part, Stéphane Lamart, the president of the association that bears his name, regrets that the two minors only had one call to order but welcome this decision. “She will work for several years to pay for animal suffering.” This summer, abandonments have multiplied in shelters, with often two dogs in a single box. Above all, Stéphane Lamart is sorry for videos posted on social networks where individuals film themselves hitting their animals “to make the buzz”. No count of the number of animal abuses has been published by the government at this time, despite requests from the association.