At the end of April, the call for help from the owners of Sunny, a four-month-old puppy stolen from Ploirzel (29), made a splash on social media… Thousands of Internet users were touched, and several celebrities supported him. Singer Julien Doré, actor and producer Dominique Farrugia and radio host Julien Courbet.
This is far from an isolated case. According to the National and European Association to Combat the Pet Trade (Antac), created in 1991 to combat this scourge, 75,000 dogs and cats are stolen every year in France. According to SPA, this is the third largest traffic in the world after drugs and weapons. In 1993, the association created a specialized division to upgrade various networks.
Up to 7000 euros on resale
Some animal thieves then resell them on advertising websites or abroad, in particular to supply breeding channels in Eastern Europe. Others demand a ransom from the owners in order to get their pets back. Still others do business with pharmaceutical or cosmetic laboratories, willing to pay more to acquire them than private individuals to conduct experiments on animals.
These are the most popular purebred dogs because they are the most profitable. The small ones, which are easier to steal and transport, are especially targeted. There are no official statistics, but last year Le Parisien identified five trendy breeds that are especially sought after by thieves, some of which can cost up to 7,000 euros: Chihuahua, French Bulldog, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Pomeranian (or pygmy). Other breeds appear in this sad list: Jack Russell and Yorkshire. But hunting dogs are also a concern.
Sometimes cruel thieves
Robbery, assaults in the streets, burglaries are persecuted … According to the Le Figaro investigation, the bandits do not hesitate to resort to violence to achieve their goals. Others take advantage of the moment of inattention: “Leaving your dog in front of the store for a quick run is like leaving a pack of 500 euros lying around hoping to find it at the exit,” said the animal welfare volunteer. association.
However, this offense can lead to severe punishment… As stated in the Criminal Code, any theft is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years, as well as a fine of 45,000 euros. And that can lead to ten years in prison and a €150,000 fine if a violent crime is committed.