In case you are unaware there are some concerns about the manager of a company that is responsible for dealing with stray animals ("fourrière") for about 150 towns in the Vendée. There are claims of mistreatment of animals and unauthorised euthanasias at the pound of Luçon. 

Last week some people stopped a van that they believed was carrying bodies of dogs from the pound in Luçon in order to have the gendarmes take the bodies away for autopsy. However after a while the gendarmes were replaced and some new gendarmes allowed the van to be driven away. Later the manager of the pound loaded some more plastic sacks into another van and was allowed to depart. This lead to the creation of a Facebook page which aroused strong feelings amongst people to find out the truth.

A number of associations for the protection of animals in the Vendée are concerned about this issue and are taking action... 

Naturally the owner of the fourrière is presumed innocent until guilty, however the evidence available which includes many photos and witness statements means that we feel an in depth investigation is warranted. In the meantime, we have asked people to calm down as wild accusations and even threats against the manager of the fourrière have been made. 

The initial response of the Mayor of Luçon, as reported in the press, gave the impression that he was not treating the matter seriously. This lead to some individuals creating petitions and a silent demonstration being held outside the town hall at 14h00 on Moday (23/9). The Mayor of Luçon invited concerned associations for the protection of animals to a meeting at the same time. NALA attended this meeting. ( )

The meeting was calm and held in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The Mayor explained how the press had given a false impression of his position. In fact, he told us, he is an animal lover and was shocked and appalled by the photos of dead dogs. He was totally behind the idea of a full investigation and would press charges personally if any wrongdoing was discovered. His actual power over the fourrière is limited as it is the Communauté des Communes du pays né de la mer which is responsible. He had already written to them to express his concerns before our meeting.

He also told us that the Direction Départmentale de la Protection des Populations (Préfecture) had visited the fourrière in august and found no major problems. However one of the people present at the meeting claimed that apparently the DDPP had given the fourrière  one week's notice of the inspection. Clearly this is something that an investigation should look at.

The mayor mentioned that the manager of the fourrière had received a large number of (death) threats and asked us to appeal for calm. To this we replied that we had already been appealing for calm for sometime. 

The mayor told us that he would arrange a meeting with the President of the Com-Com as soon as possible. In fact on Wednesday evening an invitation was sent out for a meeting at 9h00 on Thursday. We agreed to go.

The meeting was planned to be at the headquarters of the Com-Com in St-Michel-l'Herm. We actually arrived late at about 9h15 thanks to 3 sets of roadworks which added 20km to what should have been a 35km journey. However 2 or 3 people were already present before the President of the Com-Com arrived at about 9h05. In total there were 7 of us present, however the President of the Com-Com initially only agreed to see two people, then he asked for an ordre de mission (mandate). He became annoyed when we said that we would all be in the meeting and refused to see us at one stage saying that the time available for our meeting had been used up and he had other meetings to attend. One member of our delegation phoned the press, immediately the mayor asked for the the gendarmes to be called to have us ejected from the building, which is normally open to the public. We waited patiently outside for the press and the gendarmes to turn up. In the meantime the Mayor of Luçon was contacted and he expressed his disappointment at the behaviour of the President.

The press turned up... the gendarmes didn't. So we explained everything to them and eventually went our separate ways home. Later we learnt that although the President of the Com-Com claimed that he was too busy to see us because of other meetings he could spare about an hour for an ad hoc meeting with the press.

The various associations and citizens investigating this case met last weekend to take stock and identify future actions.

Saturday, October 12, a march is organized by a couple of  citizens in memory and honour of  all animals killed under bad conditions in animal pounds in France and also to seek the strengthening of laws on animal protection. Departure at 10.30 AM from the pound of Luçon.

To be continued...

For more information in French:,89165904.html