In Namur, 241 rabbits and a guinea pig were seized.

Dozens of rabbits and guinea pigs stuffed into damp cages; many rabbits placed in cages, whose only function is to give birth to young rabbits, destined for sale in a few weeks … This is a sad sight that presented itself to the professional and voluntary guardians of eleven shelters, on Thursday, in an illegal nesting located in the Namur region. In total, according to Animals in Danger, 241 small animals fell victim to the venality of an unscrupulous animal protection operator.

It seems that reprehensible facts unrelated to this illegal breeding led to this discovery. “The Walloon-approved Animaux endanger in Meslin-l’Eveque (Ath) then approached the SPW Animal Welfare Department. ”, points out Sophie Locatelli, vice president of Animals at Risk. Given the large number of animals, nine other shelters were dispatched to the site, with Namur Police Services and Animal Welfare personnel already present, to ensure the safety of the intervention and enforce the decision to arrest.

“The general condition of the place testifies to the deplorable condition of the animals. All of them live locked in cages and do not have the necessary elements for their well-being during the intervention: food, water and care,” Animals at Risk clarifies in a press release. The “improvised cages” in which young rabbits are placed, ready to be sold “probably in the markets and pet stores as pet rabbits”, were hardly more brilliant than the cages intended for the rabbits who saw them born…

Interested parties found many litters. They worked with the greatest delicacy to get the young animals out of the plight in which they found themselves. They were then transferred to eleven shelters of the associations Au Bonheur Animal, Help Animals, Le Rêve d’Aby, The Lucky Stars, Silence Animal, Tabula Rasa, La Vallée des Animaux, EquiRêve and Animal sans Toit, as well as Het Konijnenhof. , a Flemish rabbit shelter that offered to accommodate a large number of animals. An animal ambulance from the Dutch Association also intervened.

A total of 213 rabbits and 38 guinea pigs were seized. As soon as they entered the shelters, they were examined by veterinarians. They suffer from dehydration, have excessively long claws, and are infested with internal parasites. Treatment will be given promptly. “Very soon they will benefit from fresh grass and large enclosures, the warmth and comfort of various shelters,” Animals in Peril further points out. The competent Walloon minister Celine Tellier has two months to decide the fate of the underage victims. It is more than likely that they will be entrusted to the shelters that accept them. Before subsequently being offered for adoption. BW

Up to 15 years in prison

The owner, whose animals were seized by the courts, intended to sell the animals and “was not approved,” Animals in Danger points out. “He acted illegally in accordance with the law.” The animals were subjected to administrative arrest for illegal breeding. There is a case at the Namur Public Prosecutor’s Office and the police have filed a protocol for violating the Walloon Code for the Protection of Animals. The owner may be held criminally or administratively liable. If the prosecution continues, the owner could end up in criminal court. He faces 10 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million euros. If the prosecution does not open a criminal case, the case will be referred to a sanctioning officer, who can impose a fine of up to 100,000 euros and entail the revocation of the animal permit.

Associations warn: “Do not buy animals and encourage adoption in shelters. Buying a rabbit from a pet store or market is tantamount to supporting these mass farms that mistreat living creatures,” they argue. The breeder clearly used different crosses to get the original colors, which weakens the health of many rabbits, Animals in Danger further points out. Thus, professional trainers observed “rabbits with severe malocclusion, thin and weak animals. These pathologies are typical of domestic rabbit farms.” “In addition to the adorable soft toy, there is a mother exploited in dirty conditions,” the associations still say. BW

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