By Marjolaine Margue
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They are “eyes and ears” of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. Dedicated to animal protectionthe Foundation ffounded in 1986 by Brigitte Bardot benefits from a network of volunteer investigators to go to the field after a report.
two hundred people are thus investigators in France for the Foundation. “We have reduced the team in recent years to have a dynamic network and available people,” says Romy Turpin, legal director at the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
Among them, Alexandra *, who lives in the perch. She joined the team of investigators three years ago. “I submitted my application when I had a little more free time. I am part of several associations, I have always been touched by the animal cause, ”she confides.
How do you become an investigator?
All investigators within the Brigitte Bardot Foundation are volunteers. “People make a request on file. Applications are studied by the legal department, which contacts them again for an interview to find out their motivations. We ask them to provide us with a clean criminal record and we make them sign a charter of commitment,” says Romy Turpin, legal director at the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
Once integrated into the network of investigators, the volunteers intervene on cases only at the request of the Foundation. “One of the problems you can encounter is that some volunteers think that with their investigator card, it gives them all the rights during investigations and that it is a justification with the authorities. They are frequently reminded that they have to be careful and that they must respect the law”, indicates Romy Turpin.
Alexandra doesintervenes only at the request of the Foundation. It is the latter who tells him where to go after receiving a report. Alexandra then 15 days to investigate. In particular, it must contact the owner in question, in a neutral way “.
Half a dozen surveys
Since joining the network of investigators, Alexandra has intervened half a dozen times, “for the moment, I have only dealt with cases involving dogs”.
Most of the time, the people targeted by the survey are quite open to discussion. “When we intervene, it’s not necessarily for a beaten animalbut it is also when theanimal does not live in decent conditions “.
One of his investigations, in 2021, is still vivid in his memory. “Some people deny the situation. To Nogent-le-RotrouI intervened in a family where the dog was very thin and with less hair. And the animal lived in the middle of its excrement, ”she confides.
For this survey, Alexandra had asked police support after the first contact was inconclusive and “rather aggressive”. ” In front of us, the lady denied the obvious and she told us “it’s not true, she’s fine”. Since, I can’t stop thinking about that female dog. The owner no longer answers when we call her, so on the spot she was ready to give the dog away, but we cannot leave with the animal like that”.
At the end of each survey, Alexandra makes a report to the Foundation accompanied by photographs taken on site. Everything is sent to the legal department.
If the volunteer gives his opinion on the withdrawal or not of the animal, it is the Foundation which has the last word and then decides whether legal proceedings are initiated. “In many situations, we try to raise awareness among animal owners. Many cases are negotiated out of court. We do a lot of aid files,” concludes Romy Turpin.
*name has been changed.
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