Lions abused in circus near Louviers: trial postponed to 2024

A meeting between Jon the lion and the lionesses (here Hannah) at the Tonga Terre d’Accueil sanctuary near Saint-Etienne. ©One Voice – Didier Pazery

the The trial of the leader of the Cirque de Paris was brought to criminal responsibility abuse of a lion and four lionesses In June 2020 in Normandy, near Louviers (Eure), it was supposed to take place on this Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

But the following a hearing loss (read the box below), the could not be judged At the Court of Justice of Évreux. He was postponed for a yeari.e. January 29, 2024. One of the two managers of the Cirque de Paris, Steve Gougeon.

Jon the Lion has misbehaved in 2020

It should be noted that the work started on Friday, June 5, 2020 in Vironvai. On that date, the Eure prosecutor’s office launched the National Biodiversity Office (OFB) following a complaint from an animal protection association. One Voice. In place, they are caught a lion – later renamed Jon in reference to the TV series game of thrones – because the Circassians in the area did not have documents allowing them to keep this big male cat.

Prosecutorial error

An error has been made in the consideration of a case to be tried in court this Tuesday, January 31, 2023. The offenses for which the accused is being prosecuted fall under the jurisdiction of a single-judge criminal court, but the file was reviewed. before the criminal court in collegial composition. “Noting this situation, the presiding judge suggested to the different parties to consider the case individually after taking the materials related to the composition of the panel, but the lawyers of the civil parties refused due to material reasons. Demand vehicles to allow them to return to Paris,” says Évro city prosecutor Rémi Coutin.
Only space left in January 2024. The prosecutor adds: “This situation effectively demonstrates the difficulties we face in dealing with everyday cases: given the current state of the court, it is impossible to create any additional. auditions that will reduce these audition times. »

In the process, photos of the lion released by One Voice caused a lot of ink to flow. We saw it there John is starving, his wounds are badly treated on the body. And the association pointed the finger at Cirque de Paris. After that, the animal weighed 100 kg, while an adult lion normally weighs twice that. In addition, it was almost toothless (the teeth visibly extended into the pulp) and wingless.

John the lion is suffering from multiple wounds, his teeth have been hacked to pulp and his claws have been cut off.
Jon the lion suffered from multiple wounds, had his teeth ground to a pulp and his claws cut off, plus he was half the normal weight of an adult male lion. ©One Voice Association

… then Jon the lion who died in 2022

Faced with the anger of many citizens and animal protection associations, as well as the findings of the OFB, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Eure launched an investigation led by Dominique Puechemaille, then state prosecutor. further investigation. So on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, nearly a month after Jon discovered the four lionesses, Hannah, Patty, Celeste and Marleythey were too captured in the circus he was then at Pas-de-Calais, near Arras.

For their good, five cats were sent to the Tonga Terre d’Accueil shelter in Saint-Martin-la-Plaine (Loire). There they were able to recover their health and live in more decent conditions. Sadly, Jon passed away on Saturday 29th January 2022 due to complications from a ‘ruptured bowel’. Then the shelter bore witness to his grief.

John arrived at Saint-Martin-la-Plaine in a physical state that we have never seen in any animal. We hoped our shelter would be the beginning of his retirement… Our team is devastated by John’s disappearance. Jon will remain an icon and a depiction of abuse at its peak.

Welcome to the country of Tonga

Four lionesses retreating in Italy

The four lionesses are doing well today. “In the spring of 2022, we moved them to a sanctuary in Tuscany, Italy. Hannah, Patty, Celeste, and Marley are doing as well as they can be, given the situation in which we pulled them out of the circus. They are very happy in the big park of more than 5,000 m2, they are very close friends,” he admits. Shipping of Louviers Muriel Arnal, President of One Voice.

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Lions Hannah, Patty, Marli and Celeste at Semproniano Sanctuary, Italy (Tuscany), November 2022. ©One Voice – Didier Pazery

First conviction in 2022

Steve Gougion was supposed to attend yesterday’s court hearing, but he didn’t his brother Luciano. You should know that there have been both He was sentenced in February 2022 during speedy penalty procedure up to fines, a five-year ban on circus activities and a five-year ban on keeping animals, as well as confiscation of wild animals. This tells us Me Caroline Lanty (Paris Bar), One Voice lawyer.

This is a no-argument, no-hearing procedure. The judge makes a decision on the basis of its existing factual elements, as well as the characteristic features of crimes. They had the option of challenging the procedure to have the case re-examined, but this time to the criminal court. And only Steve Gougeon has ever resisted.

I am Caroline Lanty

Illegal exploitation, abuse, etc.

Within this case, which will be tried after a year, a criminal case was opened against two brothers various payments:

  • Illegal operation of establishments with non-pets (committed from March 11, 2020 to July 7, 2020 in Val d’Hazey and Vironvais).
  • Cruel treatment of an animal in his care by the operator of a kennel (committed between 11 March 2020 and 7 July 2020 in Val d’Hazey, Vironvais and Blangy-sur-Ternoise).
  • Five arrests in captivity without identification of a non-domestic animal of a protected species (committed in Blangy-sur-Ternois on 7 July 2020).

146 thousand euros were demanded from the circus manager

One Voice, for now united citizen party In this case. Along with “animal safety, first priority,” he asks reimbursement of expenses incurred for transportation and general care of animals (housing, food, veterinary expenses, etc.). “This means 32 euros per day and per lion, i.e. €146,000 then after capturing Jon and the lionesses. These costs are borne by the person who will be punished or the owner of the animals,” says the lady.e Caroline Lanty.

“Evreux Public Prosecutor’s Office was brave”

The lawyer claims that “this file shows three things”.

Circuses already have the inability to offer decent living conditions to their animals. Further, impunity of circuses, their lack of imagination, travel, lies, and fraud during the investigation make it difficult to identify them and send them to court. Finally, this is proof that complaints are successful when there is motivation in the prosecutor’s office, when everyone works in the same direction. This requires courageous prosecutors, and both Eure and OFB have shown courage.

I am Caroline Lanty

A lawyer for the Association for the Protection of Animals also backs legislation that would ban the keeping of wild animals in circuses from 2027. “Still waiting for executive orders,” he laments, before lamenting something: “Waiting? for the last minute to deal with it? Cats, like cats, breed very well. Four years tomorrow. Today, there are between 700 and 1,000 domestic animals in circuses in France. »

We could not reach Steve Gougeon. And in 2020, I am Samir Idir (Paris Bar), who introduced himself as a lawyer, and hung up as soon as he raised the topic, as he did in 2020.

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