L’incroyable sanction pour le calvaire de Poly : une réprimande !

17th January 2018

 

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The people in charge of the association Animals in Peril are in shock. They have just learned through their attorney that the Tournai prosecutor's office has been content to lecture the person responsible for the appalling abuse of a martyred pony seized on 17th March 2017 in Antoing.

Dominique Noullet, le propriétaire de l’animal, s’il répond aux conditions de l’admonestation, ne sera pas renvoyé devant le tribunal correctionnel, le Procureur du Roi ayant décidé de classer l’affaire sans suite.

 

A plight of more than 10 years

 

Less than a year ago, the association Animals in Peril had been required by the services of the Animal Welfare Unit of Wallonia (UBEAW) to take care of a horse and a pony that were seriously abused on the territory of the municipality of Antoing (Picard Wallonia). The veterinary inspector who handles the file warns that for the pony, the situation is really extreme, especially regarding the condition of the hooves.

He could not have put it better. When they arrived, the shelter team was stunned. Jean-Marc Montegnies, president of Animals in Peril, present at the scene, says: "In 25 years of work in animal protection, I have never seen this, this situation is totally new, I cannot believe my eyes."

The two equines had been locked up for many months in boxes so filthy that the height of the manure reached 60 centimeters. For the horse, it was so problematic that his head touched the inside of the roof.

Obviously, these animals survived with inadequate and inappropriate feeding. Their leanness is called cachectic (melting fat and muscle) and vermin had completely invaded their coat and hair. But alas, all this was nothing compared to the condition of the hooves of the pony. They had not been trimmed for at least ten years and had overgrown forming a revolution of 540 degrees (a turn and a half).

 

At the exit of his prison, the little Shetland moved with as much courage as difficulties. Each step was a challenge, that of lifting this heavy and cumbersome mass which unbalanced it with each movement. Obviously, the suffering is unspeakable.

 

On his arrival at the Meslin-l'Evêque sanctuary, the veterinarian drawn up an irrefutable statement: "It takes about 10 years without any trimming to achieve such a result. The joints are deformed, the coat is covered with lice and the state of thinness of the animal has a body index of 1 on a scale of 1 to 5. The prognosis is engaged."

 

Months of care for a successful revalidation

 

The veterinarian of the sanctuary and the caretakers of Animals in Peril followed for several months and with great attention the evolution of the one who was named Poly by the association. But the most important work has been done by the blacksmith of the sanctuary. In the profession for more than twenty years, and although he had never met such extreme situation, this skilled person has made a real miracle. Every Wednesday, for months, using his impressive tools, he corrected the little victim’s feet.

 

Today, Poly looks and feels great. He walks, trots and gallops like any other pony.

 

This sanction is a true insult!

 

Given the gravity of what happened, we were confident about a possible referral to the Criminal Court. "In my mind, there was no doubt that Poly’s former owner would be accountable to Justice. If the prosecution does not prosecute such an offense, it will never do it again for a matter of animal abuse", says Jean-Marc Montegnies.

Aggravated negligence is a third category offense that is punishable by a fine of between €100 to €100,000 and a prison sentence between eight days and six months in prison.

The "strong admonition" (legal term to describe a strong reprimand) given by the prosecution instead of a referral in criminal court is enough to outrage any animal lover. « While there is a growing will within the population and the political world for more severity towards people who mistreat the animals, one wonders who is mocking the prosecuting authority of Tournai. » said Jean-Marc Montegnies.

 

The association does not intend to be content with this improbable decision and has asked its lawyer to consider the possibility of a referral of the offender to the criminal court through a a direct committal procedure. Regardless of the fine and imprisonment, the judge of the Court of First Instance may also order a ban on the keeping of animals against the defendant.

 

Justice no longer concerned with animal welfare

 

Since the regionalization of Animal Welfare competence (2014), the procedures have changed. Almost all the animals seized for abuse are done so by UBEAW, the administration.

In case of animal abuse, especially during a seizure, the report of the veterinary inspector is sent to the Public Prosecutor, who has two months to decide to seize the case and refer the owner of the animal to the Criminal Court, where he faces a fine, a prison sentence and a ban on keeping animals.

If, on the other hand, the prosecutor dismisses the affair and passes it on to the administration, it is a sanctioning official who will fix the penalties, of an exclusively administrative nature. These penalties are then limited to fines.

 

In fact, Prosecutors react very little and let the administration punish the offenses.

The associations complain about this situation and regret that justice remains far from the population’s expectations. "What is the point of toughening penalties if offenders are not sent to court? » asks the president of Animals in Peril.

 

An international emotion

 

 

The intervention of the association Animals in Peril in favor of Poly has moved well beyond our borders. The ordeal of this little pony has been relayed by many international media. Some videos, especially in the United States, have been viewed by more than 90 million people

This enthusiasm is unprecedented in the history of the shelter, which has been home to horses and farm animals for a quarter of a century.

Social media has also taken hold of history and there are countless tens of thousands of comments from people outraged by the suffering of the animal.

The emotion generated is at the height of the terrible ordeal of the animal and testifies to the increasing consideration of the welfare of animals by the population. The question therefore remains: will justice remain out of step with the expectations of civil society?

 

 

 

  • Poly's arrival at Animaux en Péril

     

     

    • "The Dodo" report on Poly and his evolution

         

         

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