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The SPA educates police and elected officials about animal protection

Beaten dogs, neglected cats, horses in pain… “It regularly happens that we are confronted with cases of animal abuse, but we don’t know the regulations”, says Alex

, municipal policeman in Montpellier. A gap that the city has decided to fill by calling on the “investigations” center of the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA). [des races au gabarit ­particulier, à l’instar des pitbulls] The latter proposed awareness-raising, in six hours, followed by municipal police officers from Montpellier, joined by colleagues from Strasbourg, as well as some members of the national police based in Montpellier, and elected officials from several cities (Grenoble, Lyon, Bordeaux , Dijon, Douai, Chambéry, among others), from April 27 to 29. Until then, “we only had knowledge of dogs categorized

and biting dogs,” explains Méghane

municipal police officer from Montpellier.

Nearly 200 offenses

However, sensitivity to living things is greater today, and the law of November 30, 2021 on animal protection has strengthened the capacity for action of the police, in a period when the illegal sales of animals are so lucrative and little sanctioned that they are at the forefront of international trafficking. In this context, “municipal police officers are sentinels on these subjects as on many others: they have an important role to play”, underlines Christelle Sollier, head of the SPA’s “investigations” division, which includes an anti-trafficking unit and a sector dedicated to abuse. Awareness tells officers that there are “196 animal abuse offences,” she says.

It is still necessary to characterize them, with reference to five fundamental needs, which range from food to a healthy and protective environment, passing through the absence of fear and pain, as well as the compulsory identification certificates of the animal and its owner, declaration of a farm and compliance with its rules, etc.

Fixed fines

Once the statement has been made, it is in several cases possible to apply to the offender a fixed fine, of a few tens or hundreds of euros. For the most serious offences, the municipal police officer can draw up a report which he submits to the national police. “If the prosecution authorizes the withdrawal of animals, they can be handed over to an association for the protection of animals”, she specifies.

It is planned that this first free awareness action will be held from this month in other cities (Lyon, Nice and Metz). The initial training of national police officers and peacekeepers has also recently included this module. The documentation provided in this context is accessible on the gendarmes’ e-training platform.

Anonymity has been requested.

Contact : Christelle Sollier, head of the “investigations” department of the SPA, poleinvestigations@la-spa.fr

“It is planned to set up a network of referents so that they can help each other”

Eddine Ariztegui,

deputy mayor of Montpellier (3,700 agents, 290,100 inhabitants), delegate for animal welfare “The objective is to make municipal police officers aware of interventions in situations of animal abuse. They learn the regulations in this area, but also to characterize different cases, distinguishing the prerogatives of each: the municipal or national police, or the departmental directorate for the protection of populations. The trainers, who work in the SPA’s anti-trafficking unit, work with the head of the SPA’s “investigations” department, based in Paris. This makes it possible to provide legal data and to illustrate with concrete cases. Elected officials from several cities, delegates for the animal condition, also came to be trained, because they are solicited on these questions. It is planned to set up a network of referent police officers so that they can help each other on complex cases by relying on the “investigations” pole of the SPA and to distribute the documentation used for training, including to municipalities without police. municipal. »

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