The small world of canicross is in a state of shock. Sunday morning, at the dawn of the second day of the French championship disputed in Vauvert (Gard), three dogs died, poisoned. “We all have zero morale, blows this Monday Yvon Lasbleiz co-founder and president of the Federation of canine sports and leisure (FSLC). When you are passionate, when you practice a sport… there are no words. “A drama that has upset well beyond the borders, says with emotion the leader, who has received messages of support from Mexico, Canada and all over Europe. “It’s amazement throughout the discipline,” he said.
Investigation opened for “act of cruelty to animals”
The criminal nature of this act is not in doubt, according to Yvon Lasbleiz and the team of veterinarians present on site to oversee the competition. “It is impossible that it is accidental”, assures Emmanuelle Cottin, the head of the medical team. It was she, with three colleagues, who took charge of the dogs after the discovery of a first suspected case, around 6:30 a.m. “We were called to tell us that a dog could no longer stand on its feet and was not well. We went to see him, we did first aid, but after two minutes a second dog arrived, then a third, she says. We evacuated them with a colleague who has her clinic there, but they died during the journey. »
The Federation of Canine Sports and Leisure, the local association Canicross30 and the town hall of Vauvert have filed a complaint. The Nîmes public prosecutor’s office was seized of the case. In the evening, an investigation was opened for “act of cruelty to animals”, explained Sunday the public prosecutor of Nîmes, Cécile Gensac, to AFP. The Vauvert gendarmerie company is in charge of the investigation. “A reconstruction of the evidence is underway to identify what happened,” added the prosecutor.
But why ?
The medical team suspects the use of carbamates, a very powerful product found in insecticides. Toxicological analyzes are in progress on Monday. The person or persons responsible would have acted during the night, placing poisoned meatballs along the sports course. The dogs would have ingested them during their warm-up.
Beyond the unfolding of events, the main question that agitates the community is “why”. Leaders, competitors and enthusiasts may turn it around in all directions, but no one can understand the basis of such a gesture. In any case, this is a sad first since this sport has existed. “We had never seen that, at any level whatsoever, even in small neighborhood events, supports the president of the FLSC. It’s unbelievable, an unthinkable act of malevolence. »
This Monday, everyone has a thought for Palma, Oslo and Opale, the missing dogs. And for their master, of course. “They are destroyed, slips Emmanuelle Cottin. They come for a sports competition and they leave without their dog. They had been in pairs for years, running together, many hours each week. And then canicross dogs are not only sports dogs, they live in kennels. They are family dogs, living at home with everyone. »
In the midst of all this, some good news still came to brighten up the day as much as possible. Togo, a fourth dog who showed serious symptoms after simply sniffing the area, “will be fine,” says Emmanuelle Cottin. The veterinarian wanted to make sure before heading back to Corbrieux, in the North, where she is based.
Everyone is now counting on gendarmerie investigators to find the culprit or culprits and provide answers to their questions. “We really don’t know who could have done that,” sighs Yvon Lasbleiz. The penalty for this act is two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros.