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Refuge accused of ‘stealing’ dogs

A homeless woman alleges a refuge stole her dog and puppies, sold the latter for €2,000, then billed €4,000 for upkeep

A HOMELESS woman plans to sue an animal refuge which she says took away her dog and puppies unfairly, sold the puppies for €2,000, then billed her €4,000 for looking after them.

The animal refuge near Limoges says it took the pets because it found them tied up in the sun without food and water and “in a bad state”.

The 26-year-old owner says she had given the animals to a friend to look after because the homeless people’s shelter where she is living could not accept puppies. The woman, “Sonia”, denies they were mistreated, saying she had them regularly checked by a vet; a version confirmed by her supervisor.

The refuge agreed to hand back her dog if she did a stint of volunteering at the refuge; however the arrangement was a failure – the woman did not come regularly, claiming feeling stigmatised, and the refuge refused to hand back the dog.

It then reportedly placed the dog with a family and sold off the puppies for €250 each.

French news site Rue 89 cited Sonia as saying the refuge director accused her of not loving the dog. She said: “It made me ill, my relationship with my dog was ultra-close, she’s nearly all I’ve got left.”

She has now been billed €4,000 for upkeep, vaccination and sterilisation – so has consulted a lawyer and says she plans action for theft and possessing stolen goods.

The law states bodies like the SPA de la Haute-Vienne can take away animals if cruelty and bad treatment is shown. However, a sociologist who backs Sonia’s case says the proper legal formalities were not followed.

Sonia alleges prejudice and that the refuge just “didn’t like the look of her”.

The refuge is not one of the 56 run by the main, Paris-based, Société Protectrice des Animaux (Animal Protection Society), but is one of many independent ones run under the banner of the Confédération Nationale des SPA de France.

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