Are the animals of this association in danger? Ex-volunteers and professionals testify

The animal protection association Les Gamelles du Coeur in Mougins does not seem up to its mission. The refuge which has existed for 20 years in a vast valley, route du Cannet, seems to have been dysfunctional for a long time. The testimonies of workers, whether volunteers or professionals, are overwhelming: according to them, for several years, the animals collected there have been undernourished and not or badly cared for. And often the outcome is fatal.

Like the Benjamin sheep, two years old, who died of hemorrhagic cystitis. Or this other sheep called Kebir who succumbed to a lung problem. Or the Romarin goat, victim of a urinary pathology and untreated scabies, who died in 2019. Or arrived at the shelter in 2018, the dog Milka, who died this year. Lack of care. “But the worst are the cats”, says a former volunteer. According to her, around thirty felines have died on the spot since 2015. But also 18 rabbits! “I realized that sick animals were not taken to the vet…

“Drop fed”

The Romarin goat who suffered from mange died in 2019. Picture GA

The stories speak volumes. “When I started to intervene in September 2021, I found the animals in poor condition, because they had been fed sparingly. Without vaccines or deworming for a long time. There was 80cm of droppings in the paddocks, the boxes were not weren’t done for a very long time, testifies a professional specialized in horses. The donkey had laminitis, the donkeys attacked by flies had limbs bleeding when a little petroleum jelly would have been enough to heal them. Both rabbits were skeletal as the rats ate their rations. I even took them home for a while to retype them, but I had to put them back on site. Once I left, they died… The animals were on their own. The president refused that I call the veterinarian. So last December, I quit. But today, it all has to stop!”

Infested with rats

A cat died in 2019. Picture GA

When questioned, another professional who intervened on site in August 2020 for a donkey with a skin infection, said: The donkeys were locked up, separated, abandoned. I bought them vitamins but they lacked care. This association does not take care of animals.

Dysfunctions that go back a long time. “In three weeks, I saw guinea pigs and rabbits die one after the other, says another ex-volunteer present in 2012. This association must no longer welcome animals!”

Buried on the spot!

Another element, all these dead animals, big or small, are buried in the ground itself! What is prohibited. The place has a serious sanitation problem. On a video taken last August, we see a dozen rats between the legs of a donkey that still lives there! The rats eat, bathe in the bowls of animals night and day and make their droppings everywhere”, points out a witness. However, these rodents can transmit diseases via their excrement: Leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or even tularemia.

The town hall of Mougins was notified of the situation this summer. Alerted in 2019, the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations wrote a regulatory reminder letter in 2020 to the vice-president in charge of the Gamelles du Coeur, who resides in Nice. A complaint was also filed with the gendarmerie in 2020.

All without result.

“Not a refuge, private property”

The manager of Les Gamelles du Coeur, an animal assistance association born in 1990, lives in Nice. Reached by phone, she said “that it is not a refuge in Mougins but a private property, that it does not lack means and that the association has no particular problem”.

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