A video on YouTube showing animal activists snatching a puppy they claim was drugged by homeless man is causing a furor of online controversy.
In the video, a man and woman are seen violently grabbing a puppy from the homeless man who cries out and desperately tries to wrestle his puppy back.
The man, believed to be a Romani gypsy, struggles with the pair as the female holds the man back yelling “You have no right. It’s against the law.”
As the man and woman disappear in the crowd a witness in the video shouts “disgusting” at the activists’ actions.
The dramatic moment was captured on video in Les Halles, Paris and has gone viral, along with a petition calling for the dog to be returned to the man.
However, the activists from animal protection group “Cause Animale Nord have claimed that they did it for the dog’s welfare, saying that the puppy was drugged by his owner, who was begging on the street.
Anthony Blanchard, president of the organization, stated that they had been informed by a citizen who was concerned about the puppy’s welfare after she noticed the dog was listless. Blanchard, who is seen in the video wearing a white jumper and cap, said: “She told us a gypsy who was begging had a drugged dog with him.”
He also claims that the video has been manipulated as it does not include the minutes preceding the violent encounter. “What you don’t see is us first discussing with the man, who didn’t have papers for his animal. Then he held the dog tight to his chest and sprawled around on the ground.” He added, “The video shows only a moment of our intervention, the puppy of 2 months was not identified, non-vaccinated, [and therefore illegal] in relation to the French law … a puppy that a rom had drugged so that he remains calm and doesn’t move.”
The group posted a picture of the puppy on Facebook a day after saying that the puppy was “completely dazed” and had “dilated pupils”. However, it is unclear whether or not the puppy was confirmed as having been administered drugs as a vet’s examination report has not been published.
“We know how important an animal’s presence is for [the homeless], that it’s their last and only link with society,” the group added in their a statement. “We try to help homeless owners but we cannot allow the exploitation and mistreatment of animals for money.”
Apparently, the practice of drugging dogs to make them more docile and to encourage passers-by to give money has been documented by several humane societies in Europe. However, many animal lovers question the legality of Cause Animale Nord’s actions and whether they had the legal right to seize the dog in such a manner.
The group allegedly posted the puppy up for adoption shortly after they took the dog, but the pet listing has since been removed after the group received a barrage of online messages and threats since the video was uploaded to YouTube.
Additionally, an online petition condemning the group’s actions has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.
According to one French paper, police are now investigating the incident.
News Update October 5, 2015:
The animal rights activists who seized a puppy from a homeless man in Paris are returning the dog after a worldwide public outcry. Police brought the rescue group’s president in for questioning. The man admitted to stealing the animal and that he had put the puppy in a foster home. However he maintained that he acted on behalf of the dog’s welfare. He was released after promising to return the puppy to the homeless man.
A word of note, the video may be disturbing to some viewers.