Disturbing footage has emerged online of the moment a group of animal rights activists take a homeless man’s dog away from him in Paris.
Three people, representing the group “Cause Animale Nord”, are seen grappling with the clearly distressed man, who is on the ground, before turning to pick up the dog and running off with it.
The woman in the group is heard telling the man: "You do not have the right... it's against the law" as he tries to retrieve the dog when her companion takes it away, while a bystander cries: "It's his dog."
The person who posted the footage on YouTube, Nghi Le Duc, wrote that the dog, "this homeless man’s friend", was taken "violently, without pity".
"I was shocked when I saw this scene in the streets of Paris,” he added.
Cause Animale has defended its actions. It posted a video of the dog on its Facebook page with the message: "This is Vegan… (a dog kept by a Roma who drugged it on the Parisian sidewalks), in great shape this morning, she can finally run around and not be attached with a piece of rope… Enjoy life to the full.
They add that they have put the dog up for adoption. The video has attracted hundreds of comments, many of which accuse the group of "stealing" the dog.
Anthony Blanchard, president of Cause Animale, issued a statement which read: This video only shows a moment of our intervention, the puppy of two months, not vaccinated, which was in complete illegality of French legislation on the Paris pavement, a puppy that the Roma had drugged so it remained calm and did not move."
Since the incident, a petition has been set up online and signed by over 60,000 people, who call for the charity to be probed, and to prove that the dog was drugged.