A slightly overzealous animal defense association on the Riviera

On the one hand Robin explains that he loves animals, that Pacha, his Swiss shepherd was unjustly confiscated from him. On the other, the association “Justice for animals” believes that the animal was kept in unworthy conditions. She always refused to return it.

Same conflict about a young malinois, “malnourished, sick, desocialized therefore dangerous”, according to Chantal Fontanesi, the president of the association. Accompanied by the police, the president landed at the owner’s, destabilized by what looks like a coup de force: “They put pressure on me. I signed an assignment contract. I got tricked. They took my dog ​​who was super nice. My vet advised me to file a complaint…”

Another controversial operation: the seizure of the animals of a woman who found herself, momentarily, in precarious conditions. “She was no longer able to take care of her dogs and cats”, opposes the president of the association. The civil justice has however decided and asked for their restitution. The association has always turned a deaf ear, to the great astonishment of Alain Chemama, president of the criminal court. “This association puts other associations for the animal cause to shame”, pleaded Me Telou, civil party. Me Sambuchi evokes “an association in exaltation, in excess with seizures of animals without any legitimacy.” The lawyer even implies that these dogs and cats (all pedigree) were then sold. What Chantal Fontanesi vigorously disputes.

“Cruella” and “animal killer”

In a sometimes tense atmosphere where we treat each other “Cruella” or of “animal killer”where the certificates of the veterinarians are contradictory, the prosecutor Maud Marty has the merit of redrawing a legal framework in this dense file. “The animal welfare to which we are so attached should not come before respect for the law.” The magistrate considers that the theft of the animals is not established, on the other hand, she recalls that the non-restitution constitutes a breach of trust. But not with regard to the Malinois since a certificate of transfer has been signed in good and due form.

The prosecutor requests a three-month suspended sentence “as a warning” against the president and a fine of 3,000 euros for the association.

In defense, Me Gharbi-Terrin criticizes the immobility of the prosecution: “If this association intervened it is that animals were dying. Admittedly Ms. Fontanesi is a little zealous but she is suffering from a cabal.”

“An association that protects animals does not return them to its executioners”, underlines Me Koubi: “Ms. Fontanesi has spent her life serving others: sick children, homeless, animals.”

The court followed the requisitions, nevertheless reducing the fine to 1,500 euros. A way of reminding animal rights associations that they cannot afford everything.

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