At the end of April, the call for help of the owners of Sunny, a four-month-old puppy stolen from Blouarzel (29), caused an uproar on social networks … It was echoed by the singer Julian Dore, actor and producer Dominique Farrugia and radio host Julien Courbet.
This is not an isolated case, far from it. According to the National and European Association Against Pet Trafficking (Antac), which was created in 1991 to combat this pest, 75,000 dogs and cats are stolen every year in France. According to the Saudi Press Agency, it is the third largest traffic in the world after drugs and weapons. The association established a specialized unit in 1993 to modernize the various networks.
Up to 7000€ on resale
Then some animal thieves resell them in advertising spots or abroad, mainly to supply breeding channels in Eastern Europe. Others demand a ransom from the owners to get their pets back. Still others deal with pharmaceutical and cosmetic laboratories, and are willing to pay more than individuals to obtain them, in order to perform animal experiments.
They are the most popular purebred dogs because they are the most lucrative. Youngsters, the easiest to steal and transport, are especially targeted. There are no official statistics, but last year Le Parisien identified five fashionable breeds that are particularly sought after by thieves, some of which have cost as much as 7,000 euros: the Chihuahua, the French Bulldog, the American Bully, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the Pomeranian (or dwarf spitz). Other breeds that appear on this sad list: Jack Russell and Yorkshire. But hounds are affected, too.
Sometimes violent thieves
Pursuing robberies, street assaults, robberies… According to an investigation by the newspaper “Le Figaro”, the thugs do not hesitate to resort to violence to achieve their goals. Others benefit from a moment of inattention: “Leaving your dog in front of a jogging store is like leaving a packet of 500 euros lying around in the hope of finding it on the way out,” said one animal protection volunteer. association.
However, this crime can be severely punished … As defined in the Penal Code, any theft is punishable by three years’ imprisonment, plus a fine of 45,000 euros. This can be up to ten years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros if it is committed with violence.