Attacks on domestic animals – ill-treatment, serious abuse, involuntary attacks on the life and integrity of the animal, abandonment, etc. – increased by 30% between 2016 and 2021, according to a study by the Ministry of the Interior published on Friday.
In France, in 2021, 12,000 offenses against domestic animals, tamed or held in captivity, were recorded by the police and the gendarmerie, compared to 9,200 in 2016, according to the Beauvau statistical service.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin took advantage of the publication of these figures to announce the creation of a new service of 15 police and gendarme investigators, specializing in the fight against animal abuse and attached to the Central Office for the Fight against damage to the environment and public health (Oclaesp).
The first animal victims of these attacks are dogs (46%) and cats (24%) and the perpetrators are 73% men, the majority of whom are between 30 and 44 years old. Ill-treatment (35%) and serious abuse (34%) are the offenses most frequently observed, ahead of involuntary attacks on the life and integrity of the animal (14%).
Serious abuse experienced a particularly significant increase between 2019 and 2020 (+36%) which can be explained, in part, by the wave of mutilations of equines observed in France two years ago.
While abandonments only concern 5% of breaches, their number has exploded over the past five years (+95%, 630 breaches in 2021). Animal protection associations have noted a particular increase in the number of animals abandoned during the health crisis linked to Covid-19, in particular new pets.
Crimes against animals are proportionally more numerous in rural areas. Among the 14 departments where animal attacks are the most frequent (+3.5 attacks per 10,000 inhabitants in 2021) are Orne, Corrèze, Creuse, Allier, Ariège, Aveyron and Lozere.