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A video of a French animal rights group wrestling away a puppy from a distraught homeless man in central Paris has outraged viewers.
In the video, members of the Lilles-based Cause Animale Nord are seen forcibly taking the man’s dog away and then leaving. The homeless man is heard wailing while unsuccessfully trying to chase the man down. A woman, assumed to be part of the group, can be heard telling onlookers: “It’s forbidden by the law. It’s forbidden by the law.”
Nghi Le Duc, who filmed the incident and then uploaded it to Youtube on Sept. 19, wrote in the video’s description that he was shocked by how the activists “violently,” “mercilessly” and “without pity” took the “homeless man’s friend.” The video has been seen by nearly 1.5 million people since its upload.
After a Change.org petition that calls for the group to be investigated began gaining traction hours after Duc’s post, Cause Animale Nord President Anthony Blanchard — who animal rights blog The Dodo identifies as the man in the white hat who takes away the dog in the video — took to the group’s Facebook page to defend their actions. He accused the man, who he refers to as a “Roma,” of drugging the animal in order to use it for begging.
In another Facebook post that has since been deleted, Cause Animale Nord said the dog, now renamed “Vegan” by the group to honor its ideals, was available for adoption for a fee of 195 euros ($210).
The homeless man has since said in a separate video (below) filmed by a man who tracked him down that he has papers proving his ownership of the dog and that he plans to sue the group.
Voila la preuve que c’est bien son chien, et qu’il n’y avait aucun trafique, car le chien et en règle et à des papiers ! Merci de partager la vidéo un max pour que justice sois faite, et qu’il lui rende son chien ! Merci à tousSnap : Adaaamm22Fb : Adam Gulmezian
Posted by Adam Gulmezian on Saturday, September 26, 2015
According to RT, Blanchard has been accused of racism in the past after he penned an open letter to the French president that complained about the government money spent on immigrants and housing for Roma peoples.
French law does not allow animal protection organizations to confiscate animals without their owner’s consent.