[Série 2/5] The Lyon and South-East SPA has an “investigation” service which can intervene in the event of animal abuse in the departments of Rhône, Loire, Ain and Isère. It is increasingly in demand.
December 24, 2021, on the eve of Christmas. At the end of the afternoon, the Vaulx-en-Velin police station urgently called the Lyon and South-East SPA.
Dozens of animals are left to their own devices in accommodation that has been vacant for several weeks. Without water or food, rabbits, turtles, lizards, many gerbils and other rodents wade through their droppings and the corpses of other animals.
That same evening, 19 animals were rescued and collected at the SPA de Lyon et du Sud-Est shelter in Brignais.
Although the association collects thousands of abandoned dogs each year, its mission does not stop there. As for this rescue in Vaulx-en-Velin, the “investigation” service of the Lyon and South-East SPA is called upon by individuals or the police to intervene in cases of animal abuse.
Physical or even sexual violence, deficiencies, organized fights… In the four departments covered, the Rhône, the Loire, the Ain and the Isère, the reports do not stop.
“Lyon, city female dog?
After our series “Animals and the city in Lyon” on wild, endangered or disabled animals that separate from our daily lives in Lyon, Rue89Lyon looks at cohabitation with much more common animals: dogs. Getting around with your dog, finding a place where he could stretch his legs, educate him… So many obstacles awaiting the owners of some 130,000 dogs created in the metropolis of Lyon.
With the arrival of ecologists in the City and Metropolis of Lyon, many dog owners are hoping for significant progress regarding the place given to their hairy dogs in Lyon. What about?
“Lyon, city female dog? », a series in five episodes:
- Having a dog in Lyon: the puzzle for getting around
- At the Lyon SPA, “we have more and more cases of serious abuse”
- A cruel lack of spaces to walk your dog in Lyon
- Lyon, a dangerous city for dogs?
- At the Lyon SPA, the refuge for abandoned malinois and mastiffs
30 reports of abuse per week to the Lyon SPA investigation department
“It’s a priesthood, comments Sébastien Grève, manager of one of the two SPA refuges in Lyon and the South-East, in Brignais. We have four full-time employees. Every week there are 30 reports. »
He himself was an inspector in the same investigation department of the Lyon and South-East SPA for 7 years, with around 300 seizures per year.
“Once, we found about fifteen dead dogs in the crawl space of a house,” he recalls.
Phone screwed to the ear, Sébastien Grève apologizes and walks away a few steps. An inspector has just discovered a dead dog.
In the vast office of the investigation service, a young woman named Julie hangs on the phone while a big rabbit inspects the premises. At the end of the line, yet another report concerning a clandestine breeding of dogs, well known to the SPA of Lyon.
“Every day, we have at least one report, explains Julie, hanging up. There are people we follow for years. We cannot go further than legislation. »
According to the current text of this legislation, for a dog for example, it is sufficient for the animal to have a room with light and ventilation, a 5 m² enclosure or a doghouse, water and food, and a lanyard of at least three meters if attached.
80 complaints of mistreatment filed each year by the Lyon and South-East SPA
Each report made to the Lyon SPA investigation department is anonymous. The association then proceeds in partnership with the police, town halls and departmental directorates for the protection of populations, depending on the situation.
The two inspectors from the investigation department of the Lyon SPA went alone to four departments: the Rhône, the Loire, the Ain and the Isère. After each report, they move to the scene within a maximum of 15 days. In the event that an animal is in a vital emergency, it will arrive immediately.
The SPA can also be a civil party and file a complaint against abusive owners. Which she does about 80 times a year.
The surviving animals are taken in by the Brignais refuge and cared for. Some can also be taken care of by specialized associations, such as the Group for Reflection and Action for Animals (Graal) which takes care of laboratory animals.
Sébastien Grève is sorry for the slowness of the legal proceedings for mistreatment which can last up to two to three years, that the mistreated animals will go to the shelter, without being able to be offered for adoption.
Categorized dogs, Malinois and even seized sheep
Often, inspectors intervene with people suffering from psychiatric disorders such as Diogenes and Noah syndromes, which consist of accumulating objects and animals in the home. But also in the context of dog trafficking.
“Six months ago, 56 purebred dogs were seized from a breeder in the Loire, it was illegal breeding, comments Sébastien Grève. We also recently had a case of zoophilia on a puppy in the Jura. »
Among the dogs seized for mistreatment, categorized dogs (such as pit bulls, for example) and Belgian Malinois shepherds are over-represented.
The investigation service notes an increase in the number of reports, which is linked, according to its agents, to the fact that witnesses to situations of abuse will now be more encouraged to act. Thus, the species seized by the Lyon SPA vary.
“We are intervening more and more in illegal slaughter, especially during the Eid period”, specifies Sébastien Grève who mentions the recent seizure of 12 sheep.
According to him, as in the case of Vaulx-en-Velin cited at the beginning of this article, the “new pets” (NAC) – rodents, birds, reptiles, batrachians, etc. – are not spared from these acts. abuse, quite the contrary.
“We have more and more cases of serious abuse”
The service teams are investigating an increase in the proportion of so-called “active” abuse. Sébastien Grève evokes in particular cats cut with a machete or swung against the walls, dogs thrown from the 14and floor of a building, in the Lyon conurbation.
“We have more and more cases of serious abuse. 50 years ago it was mostly passive abuse, like neglect. In a society that is more and more violent, humans are more and more violent towards their fellow human beings, therefore also towards animals. »
As for dog fights, the manager of the shelter assures that there are always some, although they are more discreet by communicating via social networks.
December 2020, the Lyon Since and South-East SPA offers law enforcement agencies and administrations free training in animal abuse issues. The program presents in particular the regulations in force, the competent authorities and the operation of the Lyon SPA investigation service.
“We do like the police in other countries, explains Sébastien Grève. We want to professionalize something that does not exist. »