The story of a dog stolen from a homeless man in Paris by animal rights activists from the association Cause Animale Nord has gone global. A passerby, Nghi Le Duc, filmed the dramatic moments of the ‘kidnapping’. The images have shocked the sensibility of many, raising questions on social networks and authoritative newspapers. Not only has the validity of the association’s initiative been questioned but also the coexistence between homeless people and their pets.
The video, the reactions, the web petition: the story in short
After the publication of the video, the official position of the association was presented by president Anthony Blanchard who wrote on the official Facebook Page of Cause Animale Nord: “We know how important the presence of an animal for those who live on the streets is, it is the only connection with society that remains. We do help, but we can not tolerate the exploitation and abuse of animals for commercial purposes.” And the fact that the homeless man was of Roma origin has also awakened prejudices during a particularly difficult period in terms of emigration and security.
However, the shoves and yelps of the homeless man and his pup did not gone unnoticed by people across the Web, and many in France were mobilised to action through a petition in which over 240,000 signatories called for an investigation to verify the legality of the association’s actions and shed light on the cause’s accusation of mistreatment of the dog.
Happy ending in this complex story
Perhaps it was the petition or the possible legal repercussions of the seizure that ensured that the puppy (his state of health confirmed) was returned to his owner (as reported in The Dodo on 5 October). It is hoped that the man and his dog can now continue to share their lives peacefully as happens in millions homes – some more or less comfortable – of those who have decided to adopt a pet. The other side of the problem, however, can not be ignored: animal exploitation by homeless individuals exists as the news sometimes reminds us.
What are we to think? The dog-owner relationship is independent from the socioeconomic status or ethnicity of its owner, and once formed, it is a sacred bond, especially for the animal; so abuse must be fought and detected with a clear methodology that is free from bias.
What do you think of this delicate issue?